The Saints have placed the exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees.

The tag means Brees cannot talk with other teams. He and the Saints can still reach a contract agreement by July 16. In the meantime, Brees' salary cap charge will be $14.4 million.

Brees and the Saints are reportedly about $5 million apart per season. By having to use the franchise tag on Brees, coveted free agents guard Carl Nicks and wide receiver Marques Colston will be free agents March 13th.

The Saints may also have a difficult time re-signing free agents, cornerback Tracy Porter and wide receiver Robert Meachem.

Brees threw for an NFL record 5,476 yards, leading the Saints to 13 wins in 2012. He also tossed 46 touchdown passes.