The inability to strike a deal with Brees would be catastrophic for the Saints. New Orleans would be unable to use the franchise tag on standout left guard Carl Nicks, who is a more likely recipient than wide receiver and fellow free-agent-to-be Marques Colston. Brees also might construe the tag as a slap in the face for all he has done for the franchise since his arrival in 2006. —Alex Marvez
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