New Orleans Saints say franchise tag a last minute option

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Tagging Nicks would cost an estimated $9.5 million dollars.

One of the keys to the Saints having such a prolific offense is their ability to protect the quarterback.

The Saints have what is widely known as the best offensive line in the NFL. Drew Brees was sacked only 24 times in 2011, which was the third fewest in the league.

Keeping the group together is essential to their success in the future.

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones has already expressed his desire to offer guard Carl Nicks top dollar if he does in fact become a free agent.

Nicks has gone on record saying that he would love to stay in New Orleans, and the Saints said they would do everything they can to keep him.

However, Nicks had also previously gone on record saying he was “disheartened” that the Saints hadn’t contacted him about an extension in the off-season.

The least likely to be tagged out of the trio of free agents is wide receiver Marques Colston.

Colston finished 2011 with 80 catches for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games.

Not to mention he has had over 1,000 yards receiving in five of his six seasons, despite only playing in 16 games in two of those seasons.

He has been one of the most productive receivers on the New Orleans Saints offense.

Colston made $4.6 million  in 2011 with a base salary of $3 million.

He has gone on record saying that he isn’t going to give the Saints a hometown discount, and that would like to be paid like the top receivers in the league.

Tagging Colston would cost the Saints about $9.4 million and that price, even though not too extreme, might be too steep of a price for him considering the depth the Saints have in his position.

On top of that, will the Saints be willing to pay Colston $9.4 million when Graham, Henderson, and Moore’s base salaries are a combined $5 million in 2012?

It might be more cost efficient to allow Colston to test the free agent market.

With receiver Brandon Lloyd of the Rams reportedly on his way out of St. Louis, they will be looking for a replacement.

Teams like the San Francisco 49ers, who desperately need a big target. and the San Diego Chargers, who may lose WR Vincent Jackson to free agency, will all be interested in signing a big name receiver.

Reports indicate that the Saints haven’t had any long term discussions with his agent and that they have been occupied working out a deal with Nicks and Brees.