A critical, and potentially perilous, month lies ahead for GM Mickey Loomis as he works to get deals done with key Saints players ahead of free agency, which begins March 13. Contract talks already have picked up. The Saints' top priority is working out a deal with QB Drew Brees, the league's highest-profile impending free agent, but WR Marques Colston and OLG Carl Nicks are also due to hit the open market, and the team will push to re-sign both players. The expectation is the Saints and Brees will find common ground on a deal eventually — Brees has said he would be "beyond stunned" if he left New Orleans — and the preference for both sides is to finalize a long-term agreement sooner rather than later. The franchise tag deadline is March 5, though, and Loomis has not ruled out using it. The tag number for quarterbacks is expected to be around $14 million. It will be an estimated $9.4 million for wide receivers and offensive linemen.
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