Smith could get big payday from Saints

They already rank among the NFL's best young defensive end tandems. Sometime this summer, if things proceed smoothly, the New Orleans duo of Charles Grant and Will Smith might rate among the richest end couplings in the league as well.

Although the negotiations are only in the nascent stages, ESPN.com has confirmed that Saints officials have approached Smith -- the team's first-round pick in the 2004 draft and a player who is quickly emerging as one of the NFL's top two-way perimeter defenders -- about a new long-term contract extension.