NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 04: Wide receiver Lance Moore #16 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with offensive guard Carl Nicks #77 after scoring in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
+ What do Bobbie Williams, Nate Livings and Mike McGlynn have in common, besides being offensive guards? And saying that they're terrible isn't acceptable because even though Williams is older, he's still one of the league's better guards, listed as the Bengals best offensive lineman in 2011 by Pro Football Focus. The answer is that all three will be free agents this year, leaving Clint Boling and Otis Hudson as the remaining guards signed in 2012. If you groaned about Cincinnati's offensive line last year, think about that this year.
It's generally why the Bengals are selecting offensive guards in your variety mock draft. However with a reported $60 million available in cap space this year, the Bengals can be much more aggressive in free agency, looking to acquire one of the league's best guards, who will surely command a lot of money because of the demand in the NFL, provided that the New Orleans Saints fail to prevent Carl Nicks from leaving for free agency.
Jeffri Chadiha with ESPN.com writes about five free agents who could shape next season, listing Carl Nick as one. He writes:
Nicks is another Pro Bowl player who finds himself in an unsettling place. As much as he'd like to continue being a part of a Saints offensive line that has helped drive one of the league's top offenses, he also has to be realistic. The Saints have to work out a long-term deal with Brees. The team has a few other free agents to address, most notably wide receiver Marques Colston and cornerback Tracy Porter. Finally, Nicks hasn't been thrilled about the lack of communication from the front office since the end of the season. If the Saints really want to lock him up, they have a strange way of showing their commitment. The tough part here for New Orleans is that Nicks knows his value. The Saints gave fellow guard Jahri Evans a seven-year, $56.7 million deal in 2010, making him the highest paid interior lineman in football. Nicks certainly would want more than that, and the Saints might not have the luxury of putting the franchise tag on him if Brees' negotiations aren't settled quickly. Don't expect Nicks to linger if he's free to talk to other teams come March 13. He's worth every bit of the $8 million to $9 million he'd be seeking annually, and his departure would be a huge blow to the Saints' offensive line.