July 27, 2011

Market for Brees' Blindside Set by Dallas, Baltimore, San Diego

The market for unrestricted free agent Jermon Bushrod has been set by three other teams.

Bushrod, the Saints' left tackle since 2009, can be negotiated with but not signed until Friday at 5pm central time. At that time all free agents are eligible to be signed by any team.

Dallas LT Doug Free, a full time starter for just one season, agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with $17 million guaranteed.

The Cowboys, like the Saints, have a high round draft pick from USC waiting in the wings at left tackle, Dallas with first round pick Tyron Smith and the Saints with 2010 second round pick Charles Brown.

Brown did not start as a rookie, appearing in the first two and the last game of the regular season, and was inactive against the Seahawks in the playoffs.

San Diego right tackle Jeromey Clary also agreed to terms with his team today, with a four-year, $20 million deal.

Versatile Baltimore tackle Marshal Yanda agreed to terms on a five-year, $32 million deal.

Last year, Tampa Bay gave young rising offensive tackle Donald Penn a six-year, $48 million deal that was heavily laden with incentives. The effect of prior-CBA contracts on current negotiations is questionable, however.

The Saints will likely frame Bushrod's deal in and around the contracts of Free, Clary and Yanda.

Bushrod is just one of many free agents for the Saints this offseason.  Most of the Saints' offensive line is at risk, from left to right: Bushrod is UFA, LG Carl Nicks is a restricted free agent with a first round tender offer, C Jonathan Goodwin is UFA, and RT Jon Stinchcomb's cap hit may have exceeded his value.

Only star RG Jahri Evans is a certainty to return, though Mickey Loomis and Khai Harley will try to keep their prized offensive line intact.

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