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The Future of Marques Colston

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And then there was three. Drew Brees, Zach Strief, and Thomas Morstead are now the final remaining active members from the 2009 Super Bowl Champion team. What is the future of Marques Colston after his release?

Here's a salute to a great career.
Here's a salute to a great career.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

With the New Orleans Saints officially releasing Marques Colston weeks after releasing Jahri Evans, that leaves Drew Brees, Zach Strief, and Thomas Morstead as the remaining members of the 2009 Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints team still on the active roster. We can look back at his wonderful career in New Orleans, but looking forward, what does the future hold for future Saints Hall of Famer Marques Colston?

There are three possible options for Marques Colston right now, just like any other player in his position:

  1. Take his talents elsewhere and sign a new contract with a different team,
  2. Sign a new contract to stay with his current team, or
  3. Walk away from football completely and retire.
Would Marques want to go to another team? Would another team want Marques at this point in his career? Marques is clearly no spring chicken in the NFL, turning 33 later this year. Injuries might be also an issue as his release was coupled with a failed physical.

Marques has the size (6'4) many teams covet, and his hands are generally without question (19 drops the last four seasons, averaging less than five per season). He is also an adept route-runner, but has never really been a "burner" outside, fitting better primarily inside on shorter/intermediate routes. With only mediocre speed, Marques is also not known as a YAC monster. In fact, Marques's Yards After Catch ranked #55 among Wide Receivers in 2015. All that being said, there are plenty of teams that would be willing to pay Marques at least the veteran minimum as a #3 or #4 Wide Receiver in their system.

Marques has previously said he would prefer to stay in New Orleans if at all possible. Colston said his relationship with Quarterback Drew Brees and the rest of the Saints organization would play in his decision-making:

"At the receiver position, you're kind of dependent on all the pieces around you, even more so than some other positions. So, obviously you're playing with a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, a head coach that's probably on his way there, and all of the other relationships that I've formed here in this locker room...It makes you want to be here."

Brandin Cooks and 2015 breakout-star Willie Snead are entrenched as two of the Saints starting Wide Receivers, but there are questions outside of those two. Brandon Coleman is a physical specimen who was inconsistent in 2015, but showed flashes of brilliance. Seantavius Jones was cut earlier this offseason. Maybe the Saints bring in another veteran or maybe the Saints draft a Wide Receiver in the 2016 NFL Draft. No matter what, the Saints could use help at the position heading into the 2016 NFL season.

Failed physical aside, one of the major factors behind Colston's release were the Saints salary cap problems. Releasing Colston was most likely a difficult decision, but it was one out of almost necessity considering the Saints' dire cap situation.  The Saints could probably not afford to spend more than the veteran minimum to bring Marques back in 2016. It is completely possible, though, that the Saints cannot even afford to bring back Marques as cheaply as the vet minimum, choosing instead to use their limited assets elsewhere.

Marques has said repeatedly he is not worried about money at this stage of his career. He has allegedly managed his money well and is in fact a minority owner of an arena football team, the Philadelphia Soul. Being asked to sign a one-year contract for the veteran minimum would still be a humbling moment for the New Orleans Saints All-Team leading Receiver. Maybe, like former teammate Jahri Evans, Marques would not be willing to take another pay cut after doing so last offseason.

This could all be moot. Even if the Saints want him back, or even if another team would pay more for his services, Marques could instead choose to ride off into the sunset. Historically, it is difficult for great players to accept reduced roles, and Marques might want to let his career end with his 2015 season as opposed to being a role player for a team not wearing Black and Gold.

Personally, I would have been shocked to see Marques suit up for another team in 2016. I highly doubted he goes the way of former New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Joe Horn who, after six years in New Orleans, played one final year with the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons. I believed the Saints will either bring him back for a one-year veteran minimum deal or he officially announces his retirement. Then, I read his statement reported on NOLA.com:

First, I want to thank the New Orleans Saints for providing me the opportunity to spend the last 10 years with such a first class organization. It truly is, and always will be, a dream come true for a young athlete out of Hofstra University.

To everyone from the Benson family, the front office, coaches, and the training and equipment staff: It has been a pleasure to be part of a family with so many great people. And to my fellow players: thanks to each of you for sharing this journey with me, challenging me to grow as a player, and an individual. It's been an honor to work beside you, and as a team we achieved something that can never be duplicated - the first Super Bowl victory for NOLA.

And last but not least, to the most passionate fans in the world — the WHO DAT Nation — it has been my privilege to represent you on the field. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of something so much bigger than football in New Orleans. It has been amazing to witness first hand your passion and resilience, even in the face of adversity. Because of you, New Orleans will always hold a special place in my heart.

It has truly been an honor to wear the Black & Gold, and I look forward to the next chapter of my career.

#12

That statement makes it sound like his career in New Orleans is over. "The next chapter of my career," sure makes it sound like his playing days aren't over, though. No matter what, you had a great career in New Orleans, Marques. I, for one though, hope we see one last time as a member of the 2016 New Orleans Saints.