SAN DIEGO (Feb. 17, 2005) -- The San Diego Chargers used their franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees, who led them to their first playoff berth in nine seasons and was the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year.
Brees was tagged as a non-exclusive franchise player, meaning he can still negotiate with other teams. Should Brees receive an offer from another team, the Chargers can either match the new club's offer, or receive two first-round choices from that club as compensation.
As a non-exclusive franchise player, Brees received a one-year contract offer of just more than $8 million, the average of the top five salaried quarterbacks from last season. The Chargers could try to trade Brees, but a team interested in him would want to negotiate a long-term contract before finalizing a deal.
Brees has said he'd like a long-term contract from the Chargers. The team's quarterback situation is complicated, though, because San Diego obtained Philip Rivers in a draft-day deal with the New York Giants and gave him a $40 million contract.
Rivers missed half of training camp in a contract holdout, allowing Brees to keep the starting job. Brees responded by throwing 27 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions, a dramatic turnaround from 2003, when he threw just 11 TD passes, 15 interceptions and was benched for five straight games.