Originally written on The Saints Nation  |  Last updated 3/14/12
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Saints' former first round pick Robert Meachem has agreed to a 4 year deal with the San Diego Chargers that will see him leave New Orleans. The Chargers lost their star receiver Vincent Jackson to the Tampa Bay Bucs earlier in the day and quickly moved to replace him. Several teams showed interest in Meachem, most notably the Buffalo Bills who made a strong play to land him early on the first day of free agency. In the end Meachem got a nice deal with the Chargers, though, for $25.9 million and $14 million guaranteed and he gets to play on a pretty good team with a solid quarterback. That's a steep price to pay for Meachem that the Saints never have any intention of matching, but he may prove he can succeed if given starter minutes.

While Meachem never reached his full potential in New Orleans, partly due to lack of playing time, there's no doubt he was an explosive playmaker. In the 4 seasons he actually played he scored 23 touchdowns and he averaged a healthy 16.1 yards per reception. The Saints also lose an elite blocker in Meachem, though my biggest complete with him was his refusal to ever take a hit as he was always quick to go down and head for the sidelines. The Saints will lean on Adrian Arrington and possibly Joseph Morgan to replace him. What will forever immortalize him in Saints' history is this play:

 

Thanks for the memories #17. You're a great player and you will be missed. I'm glad you were able to find an opportunity that will pay you well.

As for Carl Nicks, he is apparently currently in Tampa and the Bucs are making a hard push to sign him. The Bucs have the most cap room in the league, we already know Nicks wants to be the highest paid guard in NFL history, and Tampa sounds ready to make him just that. Sadly it looks like he'll be a Buc in a matter of hours. We'll see how this plays out but I'm not optimistic.

The Saints clearly aren't, either, because they are already planning for Nicks' departure by targeting Ravens' guard Ben Grubbs. A pro bowl alternate this past year and former 1st round pick, Grubbs is widely regarded as the best guard in free agency after Nicks. Clearly that position is very important to the Saints. It sounds like Grubbs is going to be an expensive pickup, though. Can the Saints afford him based on their cap situation? Are they prepared to offer him what they reportedly put on the table for Nicks? We shall see.

So far the only other free agent name that has surfaced as the Saints going after is linebacker David Hawthorne, formerly of the Seahawks. There is no question he'd be a huge upgrade to a unit that's been largely terrible last season.

Stay tuned... lots of information coming in quickly.

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