Mickey Loomis, Saints have a lot of work ahead of them

The New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees are expected to ramp up contract talks after the Super Bowl, with the goal being to have a deal done for the quarterback in advance of free agency, which kicks off March 13.

The sides broke off talks during the season at Brees’ direction because he didn’t want them becoming a distraction. There have been informal chats but general manager Mickey Loomis told James Varney of the New Orleans Times-Picayune that it’s his top priority in an offseason full of difficult decisions.

Brees has been very public in saying he would be shocked if a deal isn’t in place for him to remain in New Orleans.

“The magnitude of the contract, the magnitude of his importance being the quarterback and the leader and the face of the franchise, all those things, if I had to rank them all, obviously he'd be No. 1,” Loomis told Varney. “In the import of those, he'd obviously rank No. 1.”

Loomis has other tough decisions to make. Wide receiver Marques Colston, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Tracy Porter are other high-profile free agents.

"I don't have final say on whether Drew takes a contract or doesn't take a contract,” Loomis said. “No different than Carl Nicks. I don't have a say over that, and sometimes there's a picture painted like you do. They have to say, 'yes,' right? We have to put together a deal that makes sense for our club. Oftentimes they'll say, 'well, just give Drew and give Carl and give Marques -- give them whatever they want, because they're important. But you can't do that because otherwise you won't sign 20 guys.

"You can't give everybody what they want or what they necessarily believe they're worth. It's a pie that we have to divide up accordingly. Hopefully, there's enough slices for everyone to be satisfied, but as you get better, as your team gets better, you have less chance of doing that.”

It might be tough to come up with enough slices, but that is the challenge that awaits Loomis.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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