NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints passes the ball as he uses a block from offensive guard Carl Nicks #77 against defensive tackle Peria Jerry #94 of the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
I wrote a story on the reasons to love the Carl Nicks signing a few weeks ago. However, there are two sides to every story - and this is the other side. Why should you hate the Carl Nicks signing?
1. He's really expensive
Oh sure, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can afford to spend a little more this season and the next, given the overabundance of salary cap space the team has in those seasons. But giving Carl Nicks the richest contract for a guard in the NFL severely impacts the Bucs' salary cap situation. While the Bucs still have room to sign a few free agents, with these additions it gets harder and harder for the team to add permium players. And if you're going to sign a premium player, do you really want it to be a left guard?
2. Overcommitting to a small part of the team
The Bucs have now given very expensive, long-term contracts to their two starting guards - and center Jeremy Zuttah earns a pretty penny, too. That's a lot of money to hand to a very small core of players on the team, at positions that most teams don't value that highly. There's a reason why the Saints let Carl Nicks walk in free agency, but re-signed Marques Colston: they think a slot receiver is more important to them than (arguably) the best left guard in football. When you have two quality players along the interior offensive line, they can often help obscure a third players' deficiencies. Instead of going with that philosophy, the Bucs simply added a ton of talent to the position. Are they overcommitting to that small portion of the team, and will it really help them win many more games?
3. Will he stay motivated now that he's getting big money?
This is a question that must be asked with each free agency addition and draft selection, and it's a question that is very hard to answer - which is why you often see teams invest big money in players, only to see those plays fail and falter. With Nicks, there may be a few extra reasons to worry, though. While the big man hasn't gotten into trouble during his NFL career, he was far from a choir boy in college - and that caused him to fall all the way to the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Those issues were so severe that head coach Bo Pellini at the time banned him frmo working out in front of pro scouts at Nebraska. Nicks later went back to Nebraska to apologize for his behavior, but has he really learned and changed his ways, or will this come back in Tampa?