We're ready to kick off our search for fresh new front page talent here on Canal Street Chronicles, and make the best Saints blog on the net even better. Not possible you say? Yeah, you're probably right.
In case you missed the introduction to our little talent search here, be sure to read it first before continuing. Remember, any and all criticism must be 100% constructive and positive in nature. Keep Da Chronic classy!
Now I present to you our first contestant of Da Chronic's Got Talent! S/he is willing to contribute twice a month.
The Loud Storm surrounding The Quiet Storm
Whether we like it or not, it seems like the Quiet Storm is all but destined to leave the Big Easy. With the success Marques Colston has had since joining the Saints as a 7th round draft pick in 2006, he will be one of the most coveted free agent wide receivers on the market, along with Reggie Wayne and Vincent Jackson.
The 252nd overall pick, and 32nd wide receiver picked, he has, statistically, been one of the best receivers since coming into the league. Outside of an injury-riddled 2008 season, Colston has not had a season in which he has had less than 1000 yards. He has played in 84 games, totaling 6240 yards and 48 touchdowns, on 449 receptions in his career, while only losing 4 fumbles. No doubt, he has been a huge part of an offense built on spreading the ball around. Unfortunately for us, those numbers mean somone is going to overpay for him. So, where is he likely to land? And what are we going to do about him leaving?
There are quite a few teams that will be looking to upgrade their receivers, and the 6'4" Colston will fit in well with most offenses. Miami, NYJ, Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego (if they can't re-sign Vincent Jackson), Cleveland, Philadelphia (if they can't re-sign Desean Jackson), Washington, Minnesota, Chicago, Carolina, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and St. Louis are all teams with problems at wide receiver. Of those, Minnesota, Chicago, Washington, St. Louis and Jacksonville would be the smartest bets to pay number 12. Unfortunately, I don't think the Saints would be willing to pay more than any of those teams for his services. Look for a 5 year, $40-45 million dollar contract, similar to what Brandon Marshall got from the Dolphins two years ago. With contracts being shelled out to Drew Brees and Carl Nicks, as well as upgrading the defense, it just doesn't look like we will be able to afford that much for him.
So, what options do the Saints have to replace him? First, they'll look inside the organization, where the Saints still have great depth at wide receiver. Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Courtney Roby, Adrian Arrington and Joe Morgan are all still under contract, and Robert Meachem could come back cheap after not living up to his first round pick status. Arrington is probably our best bet to replace what Colston does right away. They have similar skills, though Colston is about an inch taller and 30 lbs heavier than number 87. If Arrington really wants to step up and be a contributor, he'll need to bulk up in the offseason.
Outside of our own guys, there are still a lot of viable free agent opportunities. Vincent Jackson and DeSean Jackson could come cheap due to injuries and off-field issues with their current ownership. If the Jets allow Plaxico Burress to walk, he certainly fits the receiver type that we'd be losing in Colston. Stealing Harry Douglas from the Falcons wouldn't be a bad idea either, as we showed that he could rack up yardage (8 receptions for 133 yards in our Week 10 matchup). Other names that could pop up - Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth, and Reggie Wayne.
While Vincent Jackson is the obvious number one choice to replace Colston, V-Jax could still be too expensive for us. I like Plaxico as a replacement - he will be 35 years old when the season starts, but had two years off football for his prison sentence. While some will cite that as a reason not to sign him, he still had 45 receptions for 612 yards and 8 touchdowns, in an offense where Mark Sanchez was asked to do what Drew Brees does. I think he would be a great fit in our offense. He won't be asked to do more than he needs to, and has shown through this season that he can still be a gamer.
Poll: Who do you think should replace Colston, should he walk?