|Grubbs will replace Nicks and should keep Brees happy.(Getty Images)|
The Buccaneers signed former Saints guard Carl Nicks to a five-year, $47.5 million contract Wednesday. He was considered the best offensive lineman available in free agency. A day later, New Orleans filled the void by inking the second-best offensive lineman: former Ravens guard Ben Grubbs. The terms, via NFL Network's Jason La Canfora: five years, $36 million, $16 million guaranteed.
We talked about it on the most recent Pick-6 Podcast, but while losing Nicks was a blow to the Saints' offense, it's mitigated by the addition of Grubbs. And more than that, you could argue that New Orleans is better for it since Grubbs, on average, costs $2.3 million per season less than Nicks.
While the Saints still have to be worried about the sanctions coming their way for the bounty scandal, they've done a good job of keeping the team intact. New Orleans re-signed Marques Colston hours before free agency began Tuesday, and they franchised Drew Brees last week. (He's not happy about it -- and understandably so -- but we're guessing they'll work something out in the next few months.) And because Brees is most effective when he's upright (imagine that), the team wasted little time finding Nicks' replacement.
"He will prove to be an outstanding fit to our offensive line and our team both on and off the field," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said according to the team's Twitter feed.
From the vantage point of mid-March, New Orleans is still the favorite in the NFC South, but that could all change in the time it takes NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to punish the team in light of this.
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