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2012 NFL Free Agents: What Should Saints Do with Drew Brees and Company?

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IFebruary 16, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:   Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drops back to pass against the Detroit Lions during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints have to decide what to do with marquee free agents Drew Brees, Carl Nicks, Marques Colston and Robert Meachem before they even think about what they'll do in the 2012 NFL draft. 

Those guys have been integral facets of their recent raise of NFL supremacy and each one is set to hit the free-agent market this offseason. 

I want to use this article as a sounding board, a place where Saints and NFL fans alike can give their opinions on what the Saints should and ultimately will do with their handful of big-name free agents this offseason. 

First, here's a quick rundown of each player's specific situation:

Drew Brees 

Obviously, after a record-shattering 2011, Brees isn't going anywhere. Right? Both sides have recently resumed contract talks. It will be up to the All-Pro whether he wants to maximize the amount of money he receives or if he's willing to take a hometown discount to keep the Saints' core players intact. 

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His agent, Tom Condon, can look at recent contracts given out to Tom Brady (four-years, $72 million) and Peyton Manning (five-years, $90 million) and ask for even more, based on the fact that Brees has pieced together an unparalleled five-year stretch with New Orleans. 

You'd think the Saints' front office would like to get a long-term deal done so they can use the franchise tag on someone like Nicks or Colston, but you just never know what the offseason brings.

Brees should be one of the highest paid players in the game, so it'll just be interesting to see how the Saints pay him this season.  

Carl Nicks 

Nicks is one of the best guards in the NFL. He's been a staple along the Saints' menacing offensive line that provides outstanding protection for Brees each year. 

If the Saints want to slap the franchise tag on Nicks it will cost them around $9.4 million in 2012. 

There's a chance they can work out a long-term contract, but a lot of what they do with Nicks will hinge on what happens with Brees. 

Nicks has been named to the prestigious All-Pro team the last two seasons and will turn 27 in May. He's got a lot of good football in front of him. 

Marques Colston 

Colston is Brees' favorite wide receiver target. He's dealt with a few nagging injuries, but has been extremely productive, eclipsing the 1,000-yard receiving mark five of the six years he's been in the league.

The franchise tag number for Colston would be right around $9.4 million.

According to the National Football Post, the Saints haven't had any long-term extension talks with Colston and his agent, as they've been focusing on Brees and Nicks. 

You'd have to think either one of those two guys will be given the franchise tag and that there might not be enough money to give Colston the type of hefty deal he wants and deserves. 

Robert Meachem

Meachem has been a secondary option in the Saints offense for the last few seasons, but he's one of the more underrated deep threats in the NFL. 

At 6'2'' and 220 pounds, this 27-year-old burner has a lot of good football ahead and one would have to think there's a chance he would like to become a bigger part of another offense. 

However, he would be a relatively cheaper option if New Orleans wants to retain him. He made. $1.2 million in 2011. 

What do you think the Saints should do with their slew of free agents? 

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