Saints, Drew Brees making significant progress on deal

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The Saints don't plan to let Drew Brees escape.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported "significant progress" was made Monday toward a new two-year deal for Brees during the star quarterback's visit to the facility, according to sources. "The belief is it gets done today," Rapoport tweeted Tuesday.

Brees was on hand for the emotional retirement of Zach Strief, a parting ceremony that saw the signal-caller shed tears for his longtime offensive tackle. The event "paid off," Rapoport noted, kick-starting a fresh wave of contract talks and quieting chatter around Brees winding up elsewhere.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero was told the quarterback-needy Vikings called to inquire about the possibility of luring Brees to Minnesota. Rapoport also chimed in Monday to note "there are definitely other teams interested."

For the Saints, urgency exists to reach an agreement before the start of the league year when Brees would count $18 million against the salary cap minus a new contract. Rapoport expects the sides to sync up on a deal that would land between $20 million and $25 million annually.

The safe money was always on Brees returning to the Saints. Taking calls from interested suitors never hurts -- by all accounts, it had the desired effect -- but we're right where we expected to be on the eve of free agency.

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