A day after the Saints’ franchise was rocked to its foundation by news that defensive players received extra money to, among other things, inflict injuries on opponents, the Saints have earmarked a significantly larger pile of cash for a guy who plays offense.
Jay Glazer of FOX reports that the Saints have applied the franchise tag to quarterback Drew Brees.
A league source tells PFT that it’s the exclusive version of the tag, which prevents Brees from talking to any other teams — and which eliminates the risk of some other franchise offering Brees a huge contract and giving the Saints two first-round picks if the Saints choose not to match.
It’s not a surprise. The non-exclusive tag for quarterbacks will cost roughly $14.4 million for 2012. As explained Friday, just before the bounty brouhaha broke, the exclusive tender is expected to land between $15 million and $16 million, due in large part to the coming release of Peyton Manning and the recent restructuring of Ben Roethlisberger’s contract.
The move means that guard Carl Nicks will hit the market absent a new deal. We reported last night that, as of Friday, the Saints hadn’t made Nicks an offer.