League sources have confirmed to me that the Black & Gold have signed wide receiver Marques Colston to a five-year deal.
Meanwhile, NFL free agency begins today at 3 p.m., and it appears the Saints are not going to let offensive lineman Carl Nicks walk out of town without a fight.
Nicks told me last Friday, "In my mind I have already moved on." Following that conversation, he did not get a contract offer from the Saints until late yesterday afternoon. Now Nicks might have a change of heart, posting on his Twitter feed, "'Y'all know I keep it real on this. My agent told me the saints made me an offer and it is respectable."
Nicks had been a litte frustrated at the pace of previous negotiations with the Saints, earlier saying, "I want to be the highest paid guard in the NFL, that's my goal." It's unknown if the Saints helped him accomplish that goal with the Monday offer, but "respectable" is a good start. Nicks also added that he'll discuss the overture from the Saints with his family.
My take on the offer is this: The Saints wouldn't extend an offer for Nicks if they didn't feel good about negotiations with Drew Brees. The Saints already have money set aside for their franchise quarterback and have a separate "kitty" for him.
The following is from the Saints official announcement of the signing of Colston:
“Since we drafted Marques in 2006, he’s been everything that we are looking for in a New Orleans Saint as a player and a person,” said Loomis. “His combination of production, work ethic and reliability speaks for itself. He has proudly represented our team both on the field and in the community. Credit goes to Marques for wanting to get this deal done before free agency started. He’s been a major part of our success and we’re excited that he will continue to be an integral part of our team for years to come.”
In 2011, the former Hofstra standout finished with the club’s second-highest receiving and yardage totals with 80 receptions for 1,143 yards (14.3 avg.) in 14 games, ranking him in the top 15 in the NFL in both categories. His eight scoring grabs were tied for second on the Saints. Nine of his grabs were for 25 or more yards, while 55 of them went for first downs.
“This was important to me, to be back with this team in this situation,” said Colston. “I was not looking to chase free agency; it was more important for me to be back in our program, a program we have been building and a program I believe in. The Saints have been loyal to me from the beginning and I want to thank my agent Joel Segal and Saints GM Mickey Loomis for getting this deal done before free agency. Now it is time to get back to work and win some more rings.”
Originally a seventh round draft pick of the Saints in 2006, Colston has established himself as one of the most productive wide receivers in franchise history. He is currently ranked third in club record books with 449 receptions and 6,240 receiving yards and tied for second with 48 touchdown receptions, marking the sixth-highest receiving touchdown total in the NFL since 2006.
He is just one of seven NFL players to record 1,000 receiving yards in five of his first six seasons and is the only Saints player to record a pair of back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. Over the course of 86 games, Colston has registered over 100 receiving yards in 20 contests and has made at least eight receptions on 19 separate occasions.
With Joe Horn and Eric Martin atop most of the Saints receiving records, Colston is on the verge of sharing or laying claim solely to most of these marks. He heads into 2012 within range of the club’s receiving records, needing 84 catches and three touchdown grabs to become the leader in these categories. With eight touchdowns, Colston would surpass RB Deuce McAllister (55) and become the club’s leader for total touchdowns.
Photo by Chris Bennett