The New Orleans Saints are entering into an off season with some rather big potential free agents that need new contracts to stick with team. Most importantly is securing the contract of quarterback Drew Brees, followed by a close second in offensive lineman Carl Nicks new deal.
Nicks has been with the Saints since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft out of Nebraska.
His draft stock plummeted amidst character concerns — for off and on field trouble while at Nebraska — but the Saints weren’t scared off by what they viewed to be “minor” instances at best.
New Orleans didn’t draft Nicks expecting him to jump into a starting role, but when veteran Jamar Nesbit was suspended for the teams first four games of the 2008 season for testing positive for Bumetanide (StarCaps), Nicks was inserted and his play exceeded all expectations.
Nesbit never regained the starting job, and Nicks would go on to start every game in 2009, 2010, and 2011 en route to two Pro Bowl selections, and two All-Pro selections to go along with a Super Bowl championship.
Nicks is widely considered to be among the best, if not the best, left guards in the NFL. The Saints enjoy one of the best duo’s of guards in the league as well, thanks to the paring of Nicks with Pro Bowler Jahri Evans.
Last season the Saints ranked sixth in the NFL in total rushing with 132.9 yards per game. Their favorite run was of course to the left side behind the 6-foot-5 inch 343 pound road grater that Nicks has become.
But with little cap space the Saints may have some tough decisions ahead, as not only do they need to try and re-sign Brees and Nicks, but top wide receiver Marques Colston is in need of a new deal.
Personally I think if the Saints were to allow Nicks to leave in free agency it would be a huge mistake. Instead the team may have get creative to keep him, and that could cost some higher priced veterans their jobs — defensive end Will Smith — being a good example.
Nicks is sure to draw interest from several teams in free agency, and it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys could pursue him rather aggressively should he actually make it onto the market.
Several reports suggest that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is enamoured with Nicks run blocking ability, and he is certainly not afraid to spend money in free agency if he identifies someone he desperately wants in Dallas.
The Cowboys offensive line has been in flux in recent years and acquiring Nicks could allow them more flexibility to move Doug Free, Kyle Kosier, and Tyron Smith around to find the best possible mix.