The New Orleans Saints officially placed their franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees in a move that is not particularly shocking given their inability to work out a long term contract. The Saints went with the exclusive franchise tag, which means Brees is not allowed to negotiate with any other team. By receiving the exclusive tag over the non-exclusive tag, Brees gets a little bit more from the single season tender amount.
There was really no way that Brees was leaving New Orleans, but now the Saints are forced to use a tool they probably would have preferred to use on guard Carl Nicks or wide receiver Marques Colston. The significance of the move means that neither will be restricted in any way if they hit free agency on March 13.
Nicks is likely going to command a lot more money than the 49ers are willing to give up for a guard. I suppose they could figure out a way to make it work, but I would be rather surprised if that happened. Colston will make for an interesting option across the league once he hits free agency. Not only is he an option the 49ers can consider, but he also adds one more significant piece of supply to the market. The more wide receivers on the market, the better chance the 49ers might find a solid deal, even if it is not Colston.
We still have ten days left until free agency starts, and two more days for teams to place franchise tags on players. While many of these players may never have been in the 49ers plans, they are each an additional domino that impacts the rest of the free agent market.