The New Orleans Saints placed their franchise tag on star quarterback Drew Brees today. This means that two time pro bowl guard Carl Nicks will head to free agency. According to Mike Florio, from Pro Football Talk, the Saints have not yet offered Nicks a new contract.
The Saints may not be able to keep Nicks in New Orleans. They already gave guard Jahri Evans a mega deal in 2010. They made Evans the highest paid interior lineman in the game with a seven year deal, worth 56.7 million. It would seem that Nicks would look for an even bigger deal than Evans received.
If the Saints decide that they cannot afford Nicks, the question on many fans minds is if the Bengals will seek a contract with him. There is no doubt that there is a need at the guard position for the Bengals. There is also no doubt that Cincinnati can afford him if they choose. Will Mike Brown and company want to invest so much money in Nicks? The answer to that question is likely no, but with so much money to spend, there is nothing wrong with being optimistic.
It is possible that the Bengals will look to upgrade the guard position with a player that demands a smaller contract. They could also try to upgrade in the draft. Hoping that Stanford's David DeCastro slides to them at 17 is one possibility. Wisconsin's Kevin Zeitler has also opened some eyes and could possibly be a target in the second round. No matter which route Brown and the team decide to take, the guard position must be upgraded if there is any hope in getting the running game going again.