Among the questions I am most often asked on Twitter is whether or not the Redskins will make a push for Saints guard Carl Nicks. He is one of the top free agents at any position will be available starting on Tuesday. And while the Redskins’ line has improved somewhat it still is not performing as well as it needs to.
But Nicks is not going to be a Redskin. Here is what he said to radio station WWL in New Orleans on his contract demands:
I plan to be the highest paid guard in the NFL. You can take that whatever kinda way but that’s my goal, so…more than Logan Mankins got I guess.
The Patriots’ Mankins signed a six-year, $51 million deal with $30 million guaranteed last August. There certainly is nothing wrong with Nicks wanting to make more than that. This likely will be the one big payday he will get in his lifetime and he has earned the shot to get every dime he can.
But he won't get it from the Redskins.
The Redskins generally don’t get into bidding wars much anymore. They may make an occasional exception like wide receiver Vincent Jackson but they won’t get into one for Nicks.
The reason is that you do not need highly paid interior linemen in the zone-blocking scheme. The position requires some ability, to be sure. But it doesn’t require maulers who can drive massive defensive tackles back into the next county. Those are the guys who, like Nicks, will get the big bucks.
The ideal Mike Shanahan offense also features a lot of quarterback rollouts so that the interior line does not have to win a lot of one-on-one pass blocking battles against those big linemen. It appears that they will be getting the ideal quarterback to execute this offense in April when they are expected to draft Robert Griffin III.
All of this doesn’t mean that the guards and centers in zone blocking can be stiffs. They have to be athletic and, especially, smart. But there are a lot of players with those qualities out there so the laws of supply and demand says that you don’t have to pay a lot to get them. The key is to get ones who fit and then give them a lot of repetition so that they can mesh together and perform as a unit.
The Redskins may have set a record for the most draft picks given up for the second overall pick and they might give a wide receiver a record free agent contract. But they will not make Carl Nicks the highest-paid guard in the NFL.