That extension could be coming very soon too.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees is in the final year of his contract and is currently slated to become an unrestricted free agent next March after making $7.4 million this year, but if an extension hasn’t been negotiated by then he’ll likely be given the franchise tag. It looks like that might not be a problem though.

With Brees silently salivating after Eagles quarterback Micheal Vick signed his six-year, $100 million deal earlier this week that isn’t really a six-year, $100 million deal, negotiations have begun to pay the league’s next elite quarterback who’s in line for a contract extension.

In an item buried at the bottom of a notes column in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Brees said that with the six-year, $60 million contract he signed in 2006 nearing its end, his agent Tom Condon has engaged the Saints in contract talks. He said the discussions have been “ongoing,” while also adding that he doesn’t sleep with his head surrounded by 10 feet of sand, and is aware of Vick’s pocket-bulging pay day.

“I did see it,” Brees said of Vick’s deal. “It looks like a nice contract. Obviously I don’t know any of the details other than the six years and $100 million.”

If there’s any justice in the non-guaranteed nature of football contracts, Brees’ extension should land him a notch above Vick’s total salary–which in reality is $80 million–and a notch below Peyton Manning’s recently signed five-year deal worth $90 million. At 32 years old, Bress is three years younger than Manning, whose health and durability is now being questioned for the first time in his career due to a nagging neck injury. But Manning has compiled a longer history of other-worldly numbers and accomplishments, posting six 30+ touchdown seasons to Brees’ three, and winning four MVP awards to Brees’ zero.

The separation is minimal, and the gap has shrunk over the last few seasons, especially following Brees’ emergence after his move to The Big Easy. Since 2006 he has 22,918 passing yards, while Manning has 21,639. The Saints are clearly aware of the mountainous, Manning-esque contract they’re about to sign off on, but they may have to do some intricate salary cap dancing.

New Orleans is roughly $2.6 million under the cap. Brees will be squeezed in, but some bodies may have to hit the floor.