Although the New Orleans Saints have been making a number of big, bold moves this offseason, coach Sean Payton shot down any notions of the quarterback position becoming part of the makeover.
Payton said during the NFL owners meetings that there is "not one iota" of truth to rumors that the Saints would consider trading quarterback Drew Brees. And he quickly shot down speculation that they might move up for Marcus Mariota in the draft.
"Won't happen," Payton said when asked about Mariota.
Payton shared his theories on the growing trend of what he called "speculative reporting" while trying to identify where the Brees trade talk generated, but gave an exasperated laugh when asked if he felt the need to talk to Brees about it.
"Well, how do we control it? We'll go nuts if we're responding to someone's speculation," Payton said. "So that can't affect us. There's no truth to any of that. He's a part of where we're going. ... So you just wad that up and throw it in the garbage, and hopefully it doesn't come across your eyes again.
"... What do you do when there's no truth to any of it? There's not one, like, iota. So if someone's written something like that, it's either been taken out of context completely or just fabricated. I think we're in an age where we're seeing a lot of speculative reporting, as opposed to a story. And then if a fan's reading it and they don't understand it, then, 'Holy cow, I heard this is gonna happen.' But (Brees) is smart enough and he understands."
Payton acknowledged the Saints are "constantly paying attention to our roster" when asked how they decide when it's time to start investing in a future replacement for the 36-year-old Brees.
"I don't know that we look at it and have a number like an age to it," Payton said. "I see a lot of good football left in him. Let's just be real: He's not a player that wants to be discussed or even talked about in any of these equations. Not one time.
"I see a lot of good football. He's a guy, No. 1, who is a clean liver. He takes care of himself. He's a dedicated worker. He's a fitness freak. He's a great athlete. Now that being said, you're always looking at the draft class and the depth at certain positions. But it was reported that we're going out this year, that we're going out and looking at a first- or second-(round pick). But you know what's crazy is how do you predict something like that?
"(It depends on how the) player is graded. And we would approach it the same way this year just as we did a year ago and heading into next year."
Payton said he spoke to Brees after the team traded tight end Jimmy Graham and believes the quarterback is "handling it fine." However, Payton did acknowledge to Pro Football Talk earlier this week that he knows it's tough on Brees to remove a familiar, valuable target.
"Drew understands the challenges of winning. He also understands it would be nice for us to get to 26 points and win by seven instead of being down 10. There's a lot that goes into that," said Payton, who repeatedly identified new running back C.J. Spiller and young backup tight end Josh Hill as two guys who can be a part of the solution on offense. "It's our job as coaches to put a plan together to allow him to have success."