The Saints have been forced to placed the franchise tag on QB Drew Brees, having failed an offseason of new contract negotiations for the soon-to-be free agent.
Saints VP of Communications confirmed internet reports that the Saints had tagged Brees with the exclusive franchise tag, citing GM Mickey Loomis.
Using the tag on Brees means the Saints can't use it to retain All-Pro LG Carl Nicks, destined for huge money this offseason.
The exclusive version of the franchise tag means that Brees cannot negotiate with other teams, and will pay him a single-season salary of over $15 million, guaranteed if he signs it. Brees and the Saints will continue to negotiate until the summer, and can still agree on a new contract then.
The deadline to use the franchise tag is Monday, March 5.
Meanwhile, when free agency opens on the afternoon March 13, Nicks, Colston and a half-dozen other important players will hit the open market.