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Where and when could the Buffalo Bills trade for Drew Brees?

The New Orleans Saints would be crazy to part with Drew Brees in 2015, but that won't stop us from wondering what it would take for the Buffalo Bills to trade for him.

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The Buffalo Bills need a quarterback, and there doesn't appear to be a high-end solution available. The only options they can realistically consider are to trade for Sam Bradford or Jay Cutler, sign any of the journeymen in free agency, or draft a mid-round quarterback.

We've discussed that caliber of quarterback (and worse), and we'll continue to discuss them as the offseason progresses, because that's likely the level of play the Bills are looking at on a good day in 2015.

But today, we want to talk about something different, and it might require a bit of creativity and a whole lot of bored optimism. In other words, it's perfect for Bills fans stuck in the doldrums on February (quite literally, in the case of this recent cold spell), waiting for real news like which 2015 NFL Draft prospect has big hands and such.

We want to discuss what it would take for the Bills to get one of the best quarterbacks in the league on their roster within 12 months. If you haven't guessed who that is by now, you are awesome, and thank you for not reading titles before clicking on our articles. Please, follow us on Twitter and in life.

For the rest of you, yes, I believe the Bills can make a major play for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees within the next year, which would be worth it for both sides, even at a major cost. An aging Brees would become this team's best quarterback since Jim Kelly, and it would be enough to push the Bills into the playoffs as a serious contender.


We don't need to find motivation for Buffalo to make such a deal. The Bills want to win soon. They need to win soon. There isn't a team in this league hungrier for substantial success, and Brees can offer that in the short term.

But the Saints? Why would they do this? What could they possibly get out of trading arguably the best quarterback to ever don their jersey? We're glad you asked.

The Saints are currently mired in the worst salary cap situation in the NFL. The team stands $26 million over the projected cap ceiling for 2015, and they'll need to cut established veterans for relief or push the cap hits back to an even bigger reckoning in a few years by restructuring deals en masse.

If they don't restructure, they'll have to cut or trade players at lesser value and eat the dead money in the short term. That could include Marques Colston and one of guards Ben Grubbs or Jahri Evans. It could even include 100-tackle man Curtis Lofton, among other defensive stalwarts.

The long-term outlook is even worse - unless the team cuts said veterans. The Saints already have $141 million committed to 33 salaries in 2016. That is when the time will be ripe for the Saints to mark a shift in the course of their franchise, while also relieving themselves of the biggest strain on the cap. That's also where the Bills come in.

Brees counts for $26 million and $27 million against the cap in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

So, we just wait a year?

Pretty much, yeah. You can't expect the Saints to blow it up this year. They were a playoff team in 2013, and they could write 2014 off as a fluke year. GM Mickey Loomis will likely re-work a deal or two and release a player or two in an effort to keep the team as good as possible for 2015, in the hopes of recapturing some old magic. It might make a difference, but it's hard to imagine that next year's incarnation will be better than last year's, given the dip in talent they're likely to experience.

If next season is much like last season, how can the Saints not look within? The temptation to gut big, aging contracts in favor a youth movement would be a tempting prospect for a franchise that has plenty of good will with its fans thanks to a great run these past years. If back-to-back bum seasons are enough for the Saints to think seriously about life after Brees, who will turn 37 next year, Doug Whaley should be the first man on the horn, putting the idea in Loomis' head before it even gets to that point.

Asking price

What would you have to pay for a 37-year-old Brees?

If Loomis balks, I'm also adding a conditional third-round pick that becomes a first if the Bills make the AFC Championship Game or Super Bowl. I might have to throw in whatever young quarterback I have floating around and another young player on a cheap deal (effusive haggling).

Is that a fair deal? It would depend on how much Brees had to do with another hypothetical bad 2015 season, but that sure looks like a lot of assets for one guy who would not have been able to make a difference on a team whose overall talent is a little older and a little more expensive than the base in Buffalo.

If the Bills want to make a move like this in the prescribed timeline, they are likely looking at giving their scouts a break in the 2016 and maybe even 2017 drafts. Would that still be worth it for a chance to gun for the Super Bowl? If it's an option, everyone will have a year to mull it over.