According to Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole, the Saints and free agent Drew Brees remain "roughly $5 million a year apart" on a new contract.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune suspects the difference could be $22 million per vs. $17 million per. That's a lot of ground to make up by Monday's franchise tag deadline. The Saints could free up $5 million by restructuring Will Smith's contract, and another $11 million by cutting MLB Jonathan Vilma and DT Sedrick Ellis. If the Saints are forced to use the exclusive franchise tag on Brees, they run the risk of losing both Marques Colston and Carl Nicks.