- John Clayton, NFL senior writer
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Early in his career, there were questions about Drew Brees having a slow release.
That wasn't the case Tuesday when he pulled the trigger on a six-year, $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints that included a $8 million signing bonus and a 2006 base salary of $2 million.
The contract includes a $12 million option bonus due next spring and a base salary of $3 million for 2007.
"... I just felt that energy in New Orleans," Brees said Tuesday night. "From the very beginning there was a genuine feeling that they wanted me there. They believe I can come back from this shoulder injury and lead them to a championship. They were as confident as I am, and that meant a lot."
Brees said he hopes to be throwing again my mid-April, and he expects to play at some point in 2006.
"I'm going to be rocking and rolling soon," he said.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis met briefly with reporters at the Saints' suburban training facility Tuesday evening but declined to take questions, saying he preferred to wait until a media conference scheduled Wednesday with Brees and Payton.
"I'm just here to confirm we have an agreement in principle with Drew to become a New Orleans Saint," Loomis said."We're real excited about that."
Brees' decision came within seconds of the Dolphins dropping out of the bidding when they traded a second-round choice for Daunte Culpepper. All along, the Saints had more money and more guarantees on the table for Brees and wanted to use his name as the marquee for ticket sales, sales that have been hot because of the Saints' return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Even though the Saints will be looking at Matt Leinart in the draft, they have Brees as their starting quarterback. That puts the Saints in the position to possible trade down from the No. 2 spot and take defensive end Mario Williams or simply take the North Carolina State defensive end.
Brees comes to New Orleans with high recommendations. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells has always been a big fan of Brees and advised his former assistant, Sean Payton, to take Brees if he had the chance. Payton is the new coach of the Saints.
"Drew was sufficiently impressed with the organization and the head coach in New Orleans," said Brees' agent, Tom Condon, referring to Payton. "New Orleans was also very comfortable with the risk-reward, based on his rehabilitation from the injury, and Miami didn't have that same level of comfort, so New Orleans made a lot of sense for us."
Brees rejected the Dolphins' idea of lowering his demands for guarantees because the Saints made a promise to his agent, Tom Condon. In the end, Brees didn't budge and he ended up going to the Saints.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report. Information from The Associated press was used in this report.
Drew Brees agreed to a six-year, $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints that included a $10 million signing bonus.