Saints, Colston reach deal

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -Wide receiver Marques Colston got his reward for playing far beyond the expectations for a seventh-round pick.

Colston, whose 168 catches are more than any NFL receiver through his first two seasons, agreed to a three-year extension that could keep him in New Orleans through the 2011 season, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said Wednesday night.

"It's really a tribute to how well Marques has done for us coming from Hofstra and being a seventh-round pick," said Loomis, who declined to offer financial details. "Clearly, he's been very productive, a nice surprise and a great story for us."

Colston, who at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds provides quarterback Drew Brees a big target, surprisingly emerged as one of Brees' favorite receivers during training camp in 2006. He went on to compile 2,241 yards receiving for 19 touchdowns in his first two seasons.

"He brings a level of consistency and he knows what to do," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "He's been reliable and there is a high amount of confidence in him from our quarterback."

Loomis said the three-year extension gives Colston, who was scheduled to earn about $445,000 in the final year of the three-year contract he signed as a rookie, a fair raise while also giving the 25-year-old receiver a chance to negotiate another contract when he's 29 and still in his prime.

Loomis said the hope is the relatively short length of the deal would reduce the likelihood of Colston coming back and demanding another raise before his latest contract was up.

The deal also means Colston, recently acquired tight end Jeremy Shockey, running back Reggie Bush and Brees all are under contract through the 2011 season.

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