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Saints, Drew Brees make 'significant progress' on deal

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Saints quarterback Drew Brees has a self-imposed negotiating deadline for working out a new contract with the club, and that day (Sunday's season opener) is rapidly approaching.

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Brees and the Saints "have made significant progress on an extension" over the past few days. Both sides are hoping the deal can get done before Sunday, while NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that a deal could get done by Wednesday when Brees and the Saints are scheduled to meet.

Garafolo added that Brees wishes to lower his cap number for 2016 to prevent a situation where the team has to decide whether to give him the franchise tag for about $43 million next year. Brees currently counts $30 million against the Saints' salary cap -- nearly 20 percent of their available funds.

Rapoport reported earlier Tuesday that Brees and the Saints "recently attempted to reignite contract talks," but nothing concrete had come of them yet. That may soon change.

Depending on how recently the talks opened up again, it wouldn't be surprising to see something get done no matter how far apart both sides were this summer. We saw large gaps -- Muhammad Wilkerson and the Jets, Von Miller and the Broncos -- closed this offseason ahead of looming deadlines. New Orleans is roughly $2 million under the cap but would like to change that before the season begins to give them a safety net.

The price for franchise quarterbacks isn't going down anytime soon, which is why Brees doesn't have much to worry about. This is about New Orleans taking a risk on a quarterback hitting age 40 sooner than later and a quarterback who has averaged 5,127 yards and 39 touchdowns per season since 2011. Where do they meet?

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