Ravens left guard Ben Grubbs, an unrestricted free agent, is in New Orleans today to meet with Saints officials -- and he just got good news. Carl Nicks, who had manned the left guard position for the Saints, has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We'll see if the Saints let Grubbs leave town.
According to ESPN, Nicks' contract is worth $47.5 million -- including $31 million guaranteed -- which makes him the highest-paid guard in the league. That monster deal, coupled with New Orleans' newfound need for a guard, could mean that Grubbs gets the big payday he is said to be looking for.
The Ravens, according to our sources, before the start of free agency made Grubbs an offer similar to the five-year, $32.5 million deal they gave to right guard Marshal Yanda last offseason. There is chatter that Grubbs wants a much more lucrative contract -- and Nicks' deal might help him get it.
It's unclear how much wiggle room, if any, the Ravens have after their current offer to Grubbs, but you have to figure if another team offers him $8 million a year, he's gone.
The Ravens have been quiet so far in free agency, but if they lose Grubbs or decide to pull their offer first, the activity should pick up a bit. Grubbs is this offseason's biggest domino for the Ravens, but they want to re-sign some of their other free agents, too, including Jarret Johnson, Jameel McClain and Cory Redding.
As far as replacing Grubbs goes -- if he leaves of course -- the Ravens have 2011 third-round draft pick draft Jah Reid as an option at left guard, but at 6-7, he would be on the taller side at that position. If they go the free agent route, the list of available guards includes Steve Hutchinson, Bobbie Williams, Jake Scott, and Evan Mathis. They are also expected to draft at least one lineman next month.
The Ravens have also been linked to right tackle Eric Winston, but he has already scheduled a visit with the Miami Dolphins and after may also meet with the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams. We'll see if Winston, the top right tackle out there, makes it through that gauntlet without a deal.