METAIRIE -- To no one's surprise, it's been barely a year and already New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been passed by three quarterbacks in the Dollar Derby.
First, Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco (six years, $120.6 million, $20.1m average), then Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLVI Aaron Rodgers (five years, $110 million, $22m average) and now Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons (five years, $103.75 million, $20.75m average).
Each has eclipsed Brees' mega-buck contract struck a year ago of five years, $100 million ($20m average) that included a gudy $37 million signing bonus..
The deal for Ryan features $59 million in guaranteed money ($1 million shy of Brees' $60m guarantee) and a league-high $63 million to be paid out over the first three years of the deal (Brees gets $60.75m over first three seasons).
Ryan is scheduled to be paid a base salary of $10 million this season, combining to extend his contract through 2018 with a total value of $113.75 million.
Keep in mind, Matty-Ice has one playoff win on his resume' in five seasons. And while few would argue Ryan's legitimacy, the expectations for him to win a Super Bowl just grew exponentially.
Say, 100 million times greater than before.
JIMMY GRAHAM UPDATE
Barring the unforeseen, it appears fourth-year tight end Jimmy Graham will play out the final year of his rookie contract.
GM Mickey Loomis said he did not anticipate the situation becoming a distraction for Graham, a third-round selection who was sandwiched between New England tight end Rob Gronkowski (second round) and former Patriots' TE Aaron Hernandez (fourth round) in the 2010 draft.
"We have had a lot of success in keeping our core players here for the long run, so hopefully, there is some comfort in that for him,'' Loomis said.
Graham dismissed the notion that his contract situation would become a distraction.
"I don't really think about that,'' he said. "I have a lot of pride in the way I play. I have a lot of pride on every down in the game. It doesn't really matter what's ahead of me. I focus on today and the next day and trying to make special plays to help this team win.
"I'm a humble kid from very humble beginnings and I feel blessed to be in the situation that I am in. All I'm going to do is go out here and play football. I know that's what I'm best at, and I know the rest will just take care of itself."
ROOKIES GONE WILD
S Kenny Vaccaro broke up a potential touchdown pass in team work Saturday that produced a big smile from first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who hopes to see more game-changing plays come from the back end of his 3-4 defense.
"We worked real hard to identify who we wanted in the draft and our prayers were answered and we got the guy we wanted,'' Ryan said of Vaccaro, the 15th overall pick.
Third-round pick Terron Armstead from Arkansas-Pine Bluff opened camp with the second unit at left tackle, behind Charles Brown, the team's second-round pick in 2010.
S Roman Harper is being closely monitored in the early days of camp after undergoing sports hernia surgery in June by noted specialist Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. Harper is battling Vaccaro to retain his starting job. ... WR Marques Colston is on the active/PUP list because of an injured foot. ... Reserve CB Patrick Robinson is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and opened camp on the active/PUP list. His status is week to week, Coach Sean Payton said.
HE SAID IT
"I'm still raw. I'm learning new stuff every day. I'm still learning actually how to be a receiver. I've never had a real receiver coach until coach (Curtis) Johnson in 2011, it was like wow! -- Saints wide receiver Joseph Morgan, an undrafted third-year pro from tiny Walsh University who averaged 37.9 yards on 10 catches and scored three touchdowns last season. Morgan is competing for the No. 3 job with Nick Toon, Kenny Stills, Saalim Hakim, Andy Tanner and others.
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