What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the New Orleans Saints? Bountygate. Well yeah, after the last few months, that’s understandable. Second thing? Has to be Drew Brees, who will be more crucial to the team and the city this upcoming season than ever before.

But wait – Brees isn’t in the OTAs and after getting franchised by the troubled team he wasn’t exactly happy. Brees took a shot on New Orleans when they weren’t the hottest thing around the same way they took a shot on him. He didn’t do it alone, but he’s probably the biggest reason the Saints have turned into one of the best teams in the NFC and actually won a Super Bowl. The Saints! A Super Bowl!

He wasn’t around for the mini-camps and OTAs last year as well. Did it change anything? The Saints finished 13-3, winning the NFC South. They beat the Detroit Lions in the Wildcard playoff game and were part of a huge, epic aerial battle in San Francisco, losing to the 49ers. Brees himself? Set multiple NFL records – 468 completions, 5476 yards, 71.2% completion rate, averaging 342 yards per game.

But as it seems the world is crumbling on this team – with the suspensions to the four players, with Sean Payton out for the year, Drew Brees’ situation with the Saints shouldn’t worry their fans. Because it’s simple logic – There is no way the organization suddenly gives up on its most famous face, on its most talented player. Drew Brees is the face of this franchise. Not just the current team, but all-time. You don’t just throw that away.

Because you aren’t going to get anyone better. There’s a chance that despite all the hits the Saints have taken this offseason, they’ll still be a playoff team. Drew Brees makes them that good. There’s no chance they’ll be remotely close without him. He’s what Peyton Manning meant to the Colts for so long. You saw what happened without #18 last year.

Brees will be in the huddle, behind Center, in August. It just doesn’t make sense to think and imagine any other scenario. The Saints are going in for a very rough 2012 season, no matter how the appeals of their players turn out (knowing how Goodell runs this league, it won’t turn out well), but they’re not going into the battle without Brees. Forget about any other option. There’s still no contract, but it’s hard to believe there won’t be one soon enough.

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