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Ben Grubbs happy to be part of 'big-time' OL

The New Orleans Saints lost All-Pro Carl Nicks, arguably the best guard in the NFL, in March when Nicks signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Saints tried to replace Nicks when they quickly signed Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs to a five-year, $36 million contract.

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Grubbs, an Alabama native who played his college ball at Auburn, is happy to be playing closer to home and for a team with an elite offense and offensive line.

"It's nice to be on this side of the ball for a change," Grubbs said Tuesday, according to Nakia Hogan of The Times-Picayune. "Our defense in Baltimore was what the offense is here now. So it feels good to have a guy like Drew Brees at quarterback. And the offensive line that I am a part of now is big-time. So I am just trying to take everything in and help contribute to winning."

The Saints will be paying Grubbs about $1.8 million less this season, but his guaranteed amount ($15 million) is less than half of the $31 million the Buccaneers guaranteed Nicks. With Grubbs and All-Pro Jahri Evans, the Saints can still boast the best guard tandem in the league and shouldn't experience much of a drop-off from an offensive line that ranked No. 1 in Football Outsiders' advanced statistics "Adjusted Line Yards" and "Stuffed", the latter of which is defined as running plays during which the running back is "tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage."

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