2012 NFL Free Agency: Drew Brees and Saints Still Far Away from New Contract

These two would look good in stripes, no?

I know what you are thinking: this is a Bengals blog, why are we creating a post regarding contract talks between Drew Brees and the Saints? Apart from my appreciation for Drew Brees as one of the best quarterbacks in the league and the connection between the Saints and the Bengals with their fan chants ("Who Dey" and "Who Dat"), if the Saints do not come to terms with Brees before Monday's deadline, he will get the franchise tag and it suddenly becomes increasingly difficult for the Saints to sign Carl Nicks. ESPN.com is reporting this morning that the Brees and the Saints are nowhere near an agreement and the likelihood of tagging Brees is very high.

This by no means is a guarantee that if the Saints tag Brees, Nicks will leave for free agency. He is a significant part of their offense and the Saints will not part with one of the league's offensive guards so easily. Yet it came down to losing your All-Pro, Pro Bowl, record-setting quarterback or a very good offensive guard, they will choose Brees every time. The Saints have around $20 million in cap space in 2012, but Brees' contract would have to be comparable to Brady's and will likely be $15-18 million annually and take up 85-90 percent of New Orleans' available cap room. Brees' eventual contract, combined with having key free agents like Nicks and Marques Colston, will leave the Saints with a tough choice on whom they would like to keep and forced to let go.

This is very good news for the Bengals, who are in desperate need of an offensive guard. If Nicks becomes a free agent in mid-March, then the Bengals could be one of the front-runners in acquiring him, specifically due to their reported $60 million space under the cap.

Nicks will cost significantly more than a first-round pick, if Cincinnati elects to draft a guard after signing a top-tier free agent guard. However Nicks will be able to start immediately with a significant impact on the offensive production before any draft pick would. Nicks is a two-time pro bowl guard and was voted first-team All-Pro in 2011. Those are very nice credentials and would be very hard to pass up if he hit the open market...no matter what it costs to get him.

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