March 23, 2010

Tuesday Saints notes

  • Restricted free agent RB Mike Bell is set to become an Eagle at midnight tonight. The Saints are not expected to match an offer sheet Philadelphia signed with Bell worth nearly $1.7 million with $500,000 guaranteed.

    That half million is the difference between what the Eagles offered and what the Saints, who tendered him at less than 1.2 million, were willing to pay.

  • Saints starting LG Carl Nicks was a massive, overpowering tackle at Nebraska. In the pros, he's become a massive, overpowering guard. After replacing Jamar Nesbit, during the veteran's Starcaps suspension, the rookie Nicks played so well that Nesbit didn't win back his starting job in 2008.

    Nicks has been rewarded by the league's "performance-based pay" program, which uses a calculation of play time and performance to reward under-paid players. Typically, these are mid to late-round picks like Nicks that are still playing, and playing well, under their rookie contracts.

    Nicks earned the sixth-highest award, more than $317,000.

    The top earner in the program was Vikings C John Sullivan, who earned a bonus just shy of $400k, play that included a game-saving tackle on CB Tracy Porter in the final seconds of regulation of the NFC Championship game.

    Porter could have won the game outright with an interception return for a touchdown had Sullivan not hustled out to bring him down - with blockers in front - near mid-field. As it was, Porter instead won the Super Bowl two weeks later with a game-icing interception return.

  • The NFL's long-awaited end to sudden death overtime has finally been implemented. Starting in the playoffs for now, new overtime means that the first team to possess the ball will not win the game on a field goal. They will win the game on a touchdown. If the first team kicks a field goal, the second team is guaranteed another possession. Other than that, it remains sudden death after the first possession.

    That is, the Saints would not have won the NFC Championship game after driving for a field goal on the opening possession of overtime.

    Favre's final throw of the season turned out to be Porter's interception, he never saw the field in overtime. Under new rules, Hartley would have kicked off to the Vikings, who would have one opportunity to win or tie.

    Ironically, the Saints ownership voted for the new rules. The Vikings voted against, as did three other teams.

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