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Saints' Carl Nicks determined to be NFL's richest guard

We all know the story of the star player who, citing comfort and affinity for the franchise, takes a nice discount to stay in town.

This is not one of those stories.

New Orleans Saints guard Carl Nicks has spent the offseason making it clear he's looking to cash in during free agency. This is his right, and it's kind of hard to fault him for it. He reiterated his goal again on Monday.

"I plan to be the highest-paid guard in the NFL," Nicks told WWL in New Orleans (via "You can take that whatever kinda way, but that's my goal, so ... more than Logan Mankins got I guess."

Mankins signed a six-year, $51 million contract with Patriots last August. Nicks' desire effectively cuts his ties with the Saints, who are short on cap space and already used their franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees.

Nicks, 26, is a two-time All-Pro considered among the best at his position. A fifth-round pick in 2008, he is "absolutely prepared" to move on from the Saints, who have had little contact with Nicks' representation since the season ended.

"I don't wanna sound cocky or anything, but I busted my butt for four years, I made a couple Pro Bowls," he said. "For my first three years, I was the lowest paid guard of all the starting guards in the NFL. And I never complained, I never held out, I came in early to sign my tender when no one else was doing that.

"I've been dedicated to the team and I've proven my stats speak for itself," he said. "I just feel like I should get paid what I deserve."

There's bound to be a nice market for Nicks, a proven performer squarely in the prime of his career. Nicks will make your team better no doubt ... but he's not for the fiscal faint of heart.

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