Chargers not thinking long term with Brees

San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith wouldn't elaborate on much during a press conference on Thursday. He played the part of the wordsmith while discussing the franchise designation on Drew Brees.

"We are not looking to move Drew Brees," A.J. Smith replied. "He is the quarterback of the Chargers. If there is a development, we will do what is best for the San Diego Chargers."

That development would be someone calling to discuss the possibility of Brees playing somewhere else in '05. While he backed the quarterback, he would discuss anything beyond this coming year.

In the past, Smith has talked about building the Chargers for the coming year and ensuring their competitiveness for the years to follow. He strayed from that path when discussing the team on Thursday.

How the talk of 2005 relates to Brees is simple. Smith was set in his ways regarding Brees' contract status. He will not be offering the quarterback a long-term deal.

"I am worried about building a team for '05," said Smith.

Whether that was a ploy to get Brees' agent Tom Condon to take a hard line stance with his client is unclear. There were some indications that Brees would sign the one-year deal when he returned from vacation but he has repeatedly said he wants a long-term deal.

In a statement issued to Chargers.com, Brees had this to say:

"I'm very excited to be staying with the Chargers. We've built a solid foundation and I feel we can really make a run. I'm excited about being a part of that."

What happens if a team offers him a multi-year deal? Smith would reconvene within the organization and figure out what to do. Smith repeatedly pointed out that it would take two first round draft picks to get Brees away from the team.

While the Bolts made the first step, Brees and his camp can get the upper hand by playing hardball. If they decide not to sign the tender and drag it out, the Chargers may be forced to trade the quarterback.

"There are situations that could develop and we would react to that," Smith acknowledged. "We are planning on him to be here. We want him to be here."

For a general manager to suddenly be short-sighted, one wonders if they are playing a mind game as well. With a stiff-arm, Smith has declared that no talks of a long-term deal will happen despite knowing Brees wants exactly that.

Smith has proven he will stick with his convictions and the moves have worked out nicely for the Chargers. Whether this is another one of those stances remains to be seen.

It is going to be an interesting offseason in San Diego.


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