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Kristian Garic

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2012 Saints: Can they keep Brees, Colston, and Nicks?

NFL free agency is fast approaching (March 13th), and the Saints are in talks with quarterback Drew Brees about long term contract extension.  They still have two other big time players to re-sign: offensive lineman Carl Nicks and wide receiver Marques Colston.  Is it feasible to keep all three? 

"I see a scenario with Brees and Nicks.  I think Colston will at least take a long look at the free agency market," says WWL NFL Analyst Mike Detillier. 

GASP!  A long look? 

"He's going to be the real tough sign," Detillier explained.  "I could see a scenario where you could keep all three, but it would be one Herculean task to do."

Colston has been one of Brees' favorite targets since his rookie season in 2006.  Brees and Colston have hooked up for 48 touchdowns in their time together in New Orleans. Detillier says the big, rangy receiver will likely get a lot of attention on the open market.  "I think the 49ers are a team that would have a lot of interest, he would fit into that system very ,very well." 

The thought of Colston in Red and Gold is enough to make me queezy!  While Brees' contract is the priority, it's also the hold up in potential deals for Colston and Nicks

"It's the front end of the contract, you're trying to get the money right in the front end of that deal," explained Detillier.  He says the situation with Brees is complicated. "It's a critical situation that you have so many unsigned free agents including Colston, Nicks, and even Jo-Lonn Dunbar.  Also you have some needs on the defensive side of the football you need to fill." 

If the Saints are unable to strike a deal with Brees before March 5th, they have the option of using the franchise tag on him.  That would complicate the process even further says Detillier, "Because you have to protect Carl Nicks, and he's not the best guard in pro football.  He's best offensive lineman in pro football." 

Nicks has publicly said he's adverse to a franchise tag designation, and that could provide for an unhappy player.  However, all that does is prevent other teams from signing him away.  It buys time for the Saints to strike a long term deal with the pro bowl offensive lineman.  Then the question becomes - Can the Saints afford to have all that money tied up along the offensive line?  Jahari Evans signed a huge 7 year - 56 million dollar deal two years ago.  New Orleans has two veterans that they could ask to take a pay cut or inevitably release them if they don't agree.  Jon Vilma's cap figure for 2012 is $6 million.  He missed five games last year with a knee injury, and age is starting to become a factor.  At age 29, that's pushing the threshold.

"With Vilma you see a guy who's been a great player for this team, but father time is chirping on him, and that's a tough decision.  At this point in time you may have to move on," Detillier insists.

The Saints could free up more cap room with a restructuring of defensive end Will Smith's contract. Smith's projected cap figure is over 10 million dollars in 2012.  The front office and Coach Sean Payton are undoubtedly asking themselves if the production is worth the price tag. 

Drew Brees is the priority!  No doubt! However, the Saints can't get much done until they reach a deal with him.  Have some faith.  General Manager Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton have a plan. I trust them!  They are a very measured, calculated team and will not take the cheap way out.  I expect the Brees deal to be done before March 5th, and the franchise tag to be placed on Carl Nicks.  The Colston situation is tricky.  I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in New Orleans, though.  Every receiver on that team has told me that Drew Brees is a big factor in their willingness to stay in New Orleans.  Brees not only wins games for the Saints, but also gives them a bit of leverage with skill position players. 

Tags :  
Topics : Sports
Social :
Locations : New Orleans
People : Carl NicksDrew BreesJo-Lonn DunbarJon VilmaMarques ColstonMickey LoomisMike DetillierSean PaytonWill Smith

02/27/2012 10:37AM
2012 Saints: Can they keep Brees, Colston, and Nicks?
Please Enter Your Comments Below
02/27/2012 12:18PM
Colston in Red and Gold would be beautiful.
02/27/2012 4:08PM
Is it possible
Is it possible that the Saints will be trading away Tracy Porter to the Oakland Raiders for their (oakland) first round pick? If this move was taken you could maybe see New Orleans getting SS-Mark Barron,AL - CB-Casey Hayward,VB - or even LB-Dont'aHightower,AL.
02/28/2012 1:52PM
You can't have everything....
I'm not sure about Colston coming back. If he did he would have to take less money than San Fran would pay him. The QB factor is a good point though. I'm sure he would prefer catching passes from Drew Brees over Alex Smith, yet he would probablly be a bigger part of that offense than the one here.
02/29/2012 2:28PM
Tracy Porter to Oakland
Dude Oakland doesn't have a first round pick!
02/29/2012 11:45PM
Tracy Porter for a 1st round pick?
Never. Going. To. Happen.
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