August 2, 2011

Saints welcome back G Nicks, add C Newton, re-sign T Strief

On Monday, the Saints added three players, via three different methods.

Starting LG Carl Nicks, protected by a restricted free agent tender off that carried a first round draft pick value, signed that one-year contract.  Nicks hadn't been practicing with the Saints because he was awaiting the potential of any contract offers from other teams, and signed his $2.61 deal on Monday.

Nicks switched representation and hired Ben Dogra, a familiar name for the Saints and has been working with Mickey Loomis for years.  Dogra has negotiated new deals for Deuce McAllister, Jammal Brown, Malcolm Jenkins and others.  Nicks will hit unrestricted free agent next offseason and should top teammate Jahri Evans' 2010 contract, which was the richest ever for an offensive guard.

The Saints also re-signed utility tackle Zach Strief to a new three year contract, retaining the Saints' top backup at either offensive tackle position.  A seventh round pick in the first draft of the Sean Payton era, Strief has started games at left and right tackle during his career and during the 2009 season as used as a sixth offensive lineman.  Strief is often seen reporting eligible as a receiver and even going in motion, one of the unique wrinkles of Sean Payton's diverse offensive scheme.

The Saints also added street free agent center Cecil Newton, the older brother of 2011 top overall draft pick Cam Newton.  With starting center Jonathan Goodwin still on the market, 2010 fifth round pick Matt Tennant has been receiving starting snaps in the center of the offensive line.

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