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Why You Should Care Whether Or Not New Orleans Will Franchise Drew Brees

Are you guys sick of talking about the stadium? Me too. Let's talk football.

This was brought up in a fanpost by tyldenk a couple days ago, but I wanted to expand on it a little more.

Currently the New Orleans Saints are discussing contract numbers with uber quarterback Drew Brees, and right now it seems that the sides are fairly far apart. Now, it could all be posturing by both sides until the deal is done, but there's increasing speculation that the Saints might be forced to use the franchise tag on Brees to make sure they don't lose him to the open market.

Personally, just once, I'd like to see a superstar QB, not necessarily Brees, hit the open market in free agency. Just once.

Anyway, this isn't about Drew Brees, though. This is about the franchise tag. As you know, teams can only use the franchise tag on one player a season, and this is where the Saints have themselves a bit of a quandry at the moment.

They would love to get the Brees deal done, because they have another key component to their offense staring free agency in the face, and that's 26 year old guard Carl Nicks. Nicks is a top 5 guard, having been to the last two Pro Bowls, and is young enough that if he were to hit the open market he'd command a pretty penny. If they had to, they'd like to reserve the franchise tag for him, and not Brees.

If the Saints can't get a deal done with Brees and they have to choose which player to use the franchise tag on, it would almost certainly have to be Brees they would tag, leaving Nicks free and clear to hit the open market.

And this is where the Vikings come in. After they make their obligatory cuts, they'll have plenty of cap space to address some needs come free agency time...and Nicks would be a huge, HUGE upgrade on the offensive line. And with him being only 26, you could sign him to a long term deal and have a reasonable expectation that he'll play out the life of the contract, much like Steve Hutchinson has, at least for the most part.

Now, I realize that this is a long shot, at best, but stranger things have happened. No one thought the Vikings would get Hutchinson, but they did. And if the Vikings were able to snag Hicks, and then follow that up with Matt Kalil in the first round of the draft, suddenly the Vikes line from L-R entering training camp is Kalil, Nicks, Sullivan, maybe Charlie Johnson, Loadholt.

That would quite possibly be one of the most dramatic one year turnarounds for a unit we could possibly witness.

Not saying it's going to happen, but it's something worth keeping your eye on as we tick down to free agency.