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If Drew Brees gets franchise tag, Saints doomed - Yahoo! Sports
As of Thursday, the sides remain roughly $5 million a year apart on a new contract. The Saints are making moves to free up salary-cap money, such as a guaranteed deal for defensive end Will Smith that should free at least $5 million.
That move will put the Saints at roughly $19 million under the salary cap, assuming the cap remains close to $120 million. The Saints have a bevy of other moves they can make for more cap room (cutting linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis would save the team roughly $11 million).
Regardless, if a deal with Brees isn't done by Monday, the team will have to use the franchise tag on him. The ripple effect of that is significant because the Saints also have wide receiver Marques Colston and guard Carl Nicks coming up as free agents. If the Saints are forced to franchise Brees, there is a strong chance they will lose both Colston and Nicks, each of whom are looking for about $9 million per year.