The New Orleans Saints found themselves at the center of a flurry of pre-draft reports Tuesday speculating that the team might still be looking for Drew Brees’ heir apparent at quarterback.
Early in the day, the NFL Network reported the Saints discussed trading up to get the No. 1 pick that went to the Los Angeles Rams so they could select a quarterback, but the price was too steep.
An ESPN report later contradicted the NFL Network’s story. According to ESPN, the Saints did not discuss moving to No. 1.
The report said the team is more likely to move down in the first round than up into the lower part of the top-10 to get Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, a player the Saints hosted for a visit in the pre-draft process.
Lynch’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, confirmed that New Orleans is a possibility for the draft’s third-rated passer — behind presumptive top-two picks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz — although he did not say the Saints were a clear favorite for the quarterback’s services.
“There is interest,” Steinberg said. “Whether or not they’ll pick him that high, I’m not really sure.”
New Orleans drafted Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson in the third round last year.
But with the face of the franchise, Brees, at 37 years old, the Saints may stay on the lookout for promising passers until they’ve found a clear heir to Brees’ throne.
Brees, who is entering the last year of his contract and carries a $30 million cap hit, brushed off the rumors that the Saints might have tried to get the No. 1 pick in an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show.
“First of all, I worry about the things I can control,” Brees said. “I would doubt that probably was the case or a consideration. Even if it was, it does not affect my mentality or approach.”
Brees and the Saints have been in negotiations throughout the offseason about a contract extension that would presumably keep the best player in franchise history in New Orleans through the end of the year.
No deal appears imminent, but Brees remains confident that he and the organization will reach an accord at some point, and he told The Dan Patrick Show that he plans to retire as a Saint.
“It’s ongoing,” Brees said. “It’s kind of the normal contract process where there really is no deadline. … Bottom line is this: I have so much trust and confidence in our organization and my future there.
“I think it’s only a matter of time. I don’t know when it’s going to be.”