Drew Brees is a free agent, but we know he’s not going anywhere this offseason.
So the Saints essentially have two options. They can strike a deal quickly with Brees or they can place the franchise tag on him to retain his rights while continuing to work on a long-term deal, like the Colts did with Peyton Manning last year.
Option No. 2 includes a hidden cost. The Saints won’t have the option to use their franchise tag elsewhere, and they have at least two other great candidates.
Guard Carl Nicks and wide receiver Marques Colston are both headed for free agency. Florio has explained previously Colston won’t take a hometown discount.
Nicks will be especially difficult to keep on a long-term deal because the Saints have already paid huge money for Jahri Evans and Nicks is viewed as one of the very best guards in football. Retaining Nicks on a one-year deal would be ideal, but it won’t be possible unless Brees’ contract is worked out quickly.
Nicks is “expected to leave” town, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
This gives Brees greater leverage in negotiations, but it also puts him in a tricky spot. The Saints can’t handle their other important free agent business and build the best team around Brees until they get his contract done.