New Orleans Saints guard Carl Nicks will likely be replaced tomorrow evening

September 1, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints guard Carl Nicks (77) during warm ups prior to kickoff of a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at the Louisiana Superdome. The Titans defeated the Saints 32-9. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

With free agency looming and news of the New Orleans Saints re-signing Marques Colston to a five-year, $40 million dollar contract with $19 million guaranteed being reported early Tuesday, Saints fans were riding a wave of hope that the team would pull off another miracle.

Fans took to their computers, televisions, and mobile phones watching intently to see if any word on sought after free agent guard Carl Nicks.

Reports surfaced the internet Monday night after Nicks posted on his Twitter account, tweeting that his agent notified him that the Saints had made him a “respectable” offer. He went on to say he needs time to talk to his family before he makes a decision.

As time ticked away Nicks’ Twitter account remained silent, as had news reports about the New Orleans Saints.

Once the clock hit 4:00pm eastern time, Saints fans stood shocked and amazed that no updated reports had hit the sports media networks.

Shortly after free agency began, reports surfaced that divisional opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, were interested in signing the talented guard out of Nebraska.

It appeared that they weren’t the only team interested in Carl Nicks, because less than 10 minutes later another story broke that the Philadelphia Eagles were also interested.

According to league sources, the rumor of the Philadelphia Eagles being interested proved to be false.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly already scheduled a visit with Nicks but a date hasn’t been announced.

Could this mean that he could be on his way out of the Big Easy?

With the New Orleans Saints waiting until the night before free agency began to offer him a contract, maybe it was too little too late.

Time and time again he had said that he wanted to become the highest paid guard in the NFL, surpassing New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins who makes $8.5 million a season.

With only one visit scheduled to the Buccaneers, it seems likely that with the amount of cap space they have that he’d get the contract he was looking for from them.

The Buccaneers who signed former San Diego Chargers wide-out Vincent Jackson today are looking to surround young quarterback Josh Freeman with pieces to allow him to excel.

Adding Nicks would not only improve their passing game but it also would give the team the best guard duo in the NFL and improve their running game tremendously.

Visiting the Buccaneers all but screams that it’s about the money for him and it isn’t about playing for a winning team, which is something he has been hinting at since the end of the 2011 season.

New Orleans seems to be preparing for the fact that they may be entering the 2012 regular season with a new guard protecting quarterback Drew Brees.

Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune and CBS Saints Correspondent Larry Holder each reported that 28 year old former Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Grubbs is visiting team on Wednesday, citing league sources.

Since being drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Ravens, he has started 70 of a possible 74 games.

Grubbs made his first NFL Pro Bowl after the 2011 season.

Coming out of Auburn, Ben Grubbs was referred to as an athletic run blocker with great footwork and upper body strength.

Since arriving in the NFL his pass blocking ability has grown and he has become more of an all-around type guard making him even more valuable than before.

Certainly there’s no doubt that Carl Nicks is the better guard out of the two, but should he need to be replaced, Grubbs is the second best available free agent guard and a top five guard in the NFL.

Lets also mention that letting Nicks go elsewhere would cost efficient for the New Orleans Saints.

Nicks is wanting $8.5 million a season where has Grubbs would likely accept around $5 million a season.

The extra cap space would certainly benefit the New Orleans Saints who are at risk of losing wide receiver Robert Meachem, cornerback Tracy Porter, and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

There’s no telling what the situation is with the Baltimore Ravens and Grubbs or if they’re on their way to re-signing him, but it’s clear that there is some interest in testing the market.

If Ben Grubbs looks good during his work out for the New Orleans Saints and no decision has been made by Carl Nicks, I believe the New Orleans Saints will make the choice for him.

If Nicks signs with Tampa Bay before Ben Grubbs’ workout, it’s reported that the Saints are prepared to make an immediate offer to sign Grubbs.

I expect that by tomorrow evening, Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs will be replacing Carl Nicks, who I believe will sign a contract within several hours of visiting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Topics: 2011 Pro Bowl, 2012 Free Agency, Auburn, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Grubbs, Carl Nicks, CBS, Drew Brees, Jeff Duncan, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Keith Spain, Larry Holder, Marques Colston, Mike Triplett, Nebraska, New Orleans Saints, Robert Meachem, Saints Correspondent, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Times-Picayune, Tracy Porter, Twitter, Vincent Jackson

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