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Best plan for the New Orleans Saints to let Jahri Evans go and retain Carl Nicks?

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If the Saints want to keep him around then it will likely come down to using the franchise tag to keep him for another year for roughly $9.4 million.

In the event that New Orleans is unable to get a deal done with Nicks, which seems very likely, and they opt not to place the franchise tag on him, there will be plenty of teams interested in signing him to a blockbuster deal.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is said to be interested in Nicks, and Jones is not afraid to shell out the money to sign marquee players in free agency.

But an interesting point was brought up recently — should the Saints part ways with Jahri Evans so they can find the money to sign Carl Nicks long term?

It’s a loaded question, but it does make sense when you consider that Nicks — widely considerd the best guard in the entire NFL — is also considered to be better than Evans himself.

The thinking being that New Orleans can clear loads of cap space by releasing Evans and invest it in the slightly younger and more talented Nicks, but to “rob Peter to pay Paul” seems drastically un-like the Saints front office.

Evans has made the Pro Bowl the last three consecutive seasons, and since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, has started every game for the Saints at right guard — playing at a very high level.

Losing either would be a huge blow to the Saints offensive line that is among the best in the league thanks to their presence, but something has to give.

Higher priced veterans such as defensive end Will Smith, middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, and cornerback Jabari Greer could all be at risk of being cut as the Saints attempt to turn over every stone in search of the coin to keep Nicks in New Orleans.