NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The rest of the NFL can dispense with any notions of luring Drew Brees away from the team — and city — where the star quarterback has flourished for more than a decade now.
Two people familiar with the contract say Brees has agreed to a two-year, $50 million extension with the New Orleans Saints. The people say $27 million is guaranteed in the first year.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Tuesday because the agreement has not been announced.
Brees, who turned 39 in January, was due to become a free agent on Wednesday. But he has said he wanted to finish his career in New Orleans, where he has played since 2006, won a Super Bowl and led what has been one of the most productive offenses in the NFL since he and coach Sean Payton arrived.
“I’ll be here as long as they’ll have me,” Brees said after last season ended in January.
Now his return is assured to a team that came within one play of advancing to last season’s NFC championship game, falling at Minnesota when the Vikings scored an unlikely, 61-yard touchdown on the final play of their divisional-round NFC playoff game.
Last season, Brees completed an NFL-record 72 percent of his passes for 4,334 yards and 23 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He ranked fourth in the NFL in yards passing and the Saints ranked second in the NFL in total offense.
A second-round draft choice by San Diego in 2001, Brees has passed for 70,445 yards and 488 touchdowns in 17 seasons — 58,097 yards and 408 touchdowns in 12 seasons with New Orleans.
He has passed for more than 5,000 yards in a season five times, most recently in 2016. In 2011, Brees was at the helm of an offense that gained an NFL-record 7,474 yards.
By the time Brees’ new contract expires, he could very well be the NFL’s all-time leader in yards and touchdowns passing. Currently, Peyton Manning holds those marks with 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns. Brett Favre also is ahead of Brees — for now — with 71, 838 yards and 508 TDs passing.
Brees has been New Orleans’ franchise player during the franchise’s greatest era, which has been highlighted by a Super Bowl championship in the 2009 season and five other playoff seasons.
He arrived when his NFL future was uncertain, as was the future of Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. Coming off throwing-shoulder surgery, Brees led the Saints — who had gone 3-13 the year before he arrived — to their first NFC title game.
In the process, Brees and the Saints became a symbol of New Orleans’ resurgence after the storm that flooded 80 percent of the city, flourishing together during the past decade-plus of recovery.
“Certainly, the relationship with this city will always play a strong role in me wanting to be here and … wanting to finish my career here,” Brees said.
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