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Brees gets a record contract

NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees and the Saints gave their fans Friday news they can celebrate after an offseason of turmoil.

The sides said they had agreed to a five-year contract that media reports said was for $100 million with a record $60 million guaranteed. That would give the quarterback the highest average annual pay in NFL history, $20 million. Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams also has a $100 million deal but for six years.

The deal pays Brees $40 million the first year, the reports said. It includes a $37 million signing bonus.

"I can tell you from the start of this negotiation, I have not thought once about, 'Hey, I want to be the highest-paid guy' or what have you," Brees said in an interview with New Orleans radio station WWL-AM.

"It was more about trying to look truly, just objectively, at the numbers the last decade for a top-tier quarterback and where it has been and where it is going and just trying to do what is fair and justified."

Brees, tagged as the Saints' exclusive franchise player, had until 4 p.m. Monday to reach a long-term contract, play in 2012 under his franchise tender of $16.371 million or hold out for a better one-year deal.

"What Drew has accomplished in his time with the Saints, he deserves to be the highest paid player in the league," general manager Mickey Loomis said.

Brees skipped the Saints' offseason practices while holding out for a long-term deal. Now he is set to report for the opening of training camp July 24, good news for a club whose offseason has been plagued by the bounty scandal that resulted in the seasonlong suspensions of coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma, among other sanctions.

In the past six seasons, Brees has not only led the Saints to their only Super Bowl title, but completed more passes (2,488) for more yards (28,394) and more touchdowns (201) than any other quarterback. His 67.8 percent completion rate in that time also tops the league.

In 2011, Brees set league season records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing and a completion percentage of 71.2.

seahawks: Receiver and former Plant High standout Mike Williams was cut two weeks before the start of training camp. Williams was a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year in 2010 after his career was rejuvenated in Seattle following flops in Detroit and Oakland. But Williams couldn't develop a connection with new quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in 2011, and his season was cut short by a broken left ankle. "I have nothing but gratitude towards Seattle for giving me the opportunity … and I look forward to a healthy season in 2012," he told ESPN radio in Seattle.

texans: Quarterback Matt Schaub, coming off surgery, will be ready for the start of training camp, ESPN reported. Schaub sustained a midfoot injury against the Bucs on Nov. 13. He had surgery and missed the rest of the season.

more t.o. child support problems: Terrell Owens is $20,000 behind on child support payments and could face jail time, Atlanta TV station WSB reported. Owens did not show up for a hearing in the case Thursday in Atlanta, the station said. His attorney, David Hartin, said it was his fault because he didn't communicate with the former wide receiver, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2010. Fulton County Judge John Goger rescheduled the hearing for Thursday and said Owens could face jail time if he does not attend.

Brees gets a record contract 07/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 14, 2012 12:59am]

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