Drew Brees gained additional leverage in his protracted contract talks with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday when an arbitrator in Philadelphia ruled in Brees' favor in a dispute over how much the Saints would have to pay the star quarterback if they applied the franchise tag to him again in 2013.
The Saints have already used the tag on Brees for 2012, meaning he can't negotiate with another team and could be forced to settle for a one-year, $16.3 million deal if he cannot reach a new long-term deal by a July 16 deadline specified in the league's collective bargaining agreement.
System arbitrator Stephen Burbank's ruling Tuesday said if New Orleans tries to tag Brees a second year in a row, he would be entitled to a 44 percent raise to about $23.5 million because it would be his third-career franchise tag. The NFL had argued Brees would be due a 20 percent raise because it would have been only his second franchise tag with one team.
Burbank, however, ruled that while the NFL's C...