- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans Saints all-time leading receiver Marques Colston has agreed to contract changes and will remain with the club next season, a person familiar with the situation said Friday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Saints have not publicly discussed Colston’s contract.

Colston’s contract changes will lower how much his salary counts against the 2015 salary cap.

Without restructuring, Colston would have cost New Orleans $9.7 million against the cap. No other details have been released on the contract change, which was first reported by FOX Sports.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Colston, who’ll be 32 next season, may go down as one of the best draft choices in Saints history. The seventh-rounder was the fourth to-last pick (252nd overall) in the 2006 draft out of Hofstra, then a Division I-AA program which has since disbanded. He has since caught 666 passes for 9,239 yards receiving and 68 touchdowns in nine seasons - all franchise records. He is one of only four receivers since 2006 with at least 60 touchdowns, 600 receptions and 9,000 yards receiving, along with Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall.

Last season, however, Colston saw a relative dip in production with 902 yards and five TDs receiving. That marked his first season with under 1,000 yards while playing in all 16 games and the receiver agreed it was an off year.

“Not being able to perform to my standards is tough,” Colston said late last season. “I’ve got a lot to build on this offseason.”

With Colston in place for next season, the Saints appear set in terms of their top three receivers. Brandon Cooks, a 2014 first-round pick, and Kenny Stills, a 2013 fifth-round draft choice, both are coming off promising seasons.

Last season, all three receivers, along with tight end Jimmy Graham, played regular roles in helping quarterback Drew Brees pass for 4,952 yards, which tied for best in the NFL with Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger.

In the final week of last season, Brees heaped praise upon Colston and predicted the Saints would find a way to keep him.

“I’ve been lucky to have him for nine years and I’m going to be lucky to have him for a few more,” Brees said. “He’s a mainstay. There’s not any person who I have played with who has been more steady, more consistent in every way. He’s the consummate teammate.”

Now they’re set to connect on more passes come the fall of 2015.



AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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