Jahri Evans Tweet Might Suggest His Time Is Up In New Orleans
By Ty Anania
It very well might mean nothing. It may be a simple grammar problem. But it could also be the first indication that Jahri Evans won’t return to the Saints in 2018.
In response to a fan asking if Evans would return to the Saints, Evans responded:
So, obviously, there’s nothing clear-cut there. Evans doesn’t really have an out that wouldn’t suggest one future or another: either he “enjoyed” playing, or he “enjoys” playing. Either that part of his life is in the past, or the present. I don’t want to make this seem more certain than it is.
But it’s worth noting how he phrased the response. It’s more natural to keep it in the present tense.
If Evans does decide to hang up his Saints jersey, I’m not sure that would mean he retires.
I doubt Evans wants to spend the last years of his career on the bench. If another team will let him compete for a starting job, I’m sure he’d be happy to give it another shot.
As it stands, however, Evans would not be in contention for a starting gig with the Saints. Larry Warford will start at RG and Andrus Peat at LG. It remains possible that an injury could open up a slot for Evans to start, but unlikely. I doubt Evans will want to play anywhere but RG. If he were willing to slide over to LG, that would give him more possibilities. In the likely event of an injury to Terron Armstead or Zach Strief, Andrus Peat would likely slide out to tackle. That would leave the LG spot open. But even then, Kelemete is a very solid option and might be preferable to a 33-year-old Evans.
The Seahawks gave Evans a shot at a starting gig last season, and allegedly regret letting him walk away. Seahawks GM John Schneider lamented the loss of the leadership he could have provided to a young Seattle O-Line.
The Saints don’t need leadership in the same way. Between Zach Strief and Max Unger, there are plenty of savvy vets on the roster. And the rest of the guys have been around Evans enough to understand the culture he brings.
If Evans does leave or retires, he’ll go down as one of the greatest Saints players of all time.
A six-time Pro Bowler. A four-time first-team All-Pro. One-time second-team All-Pro. A two-time Madden Most Valuable Protector’s Award winner.
And most importantly, a 2009 Super Bowl Champion.
Jahri Evans was a part of that 2006 draft class that marked the beginning of the Sean Payton era in New Orleans and the emergence of the Saints as an NFL powerhouse. Evans started all 16 games his rookie year and was a mainstay of the most dominant offensive dynasty in recent NFL history.
In his ten years as the starting RG, the Saints led the league in offensive ranking six times. And with a quarterback like Drew Brees, guard is arguably the most important position on the offensive line.
Evans was here through the good and the bad. But he always represented the culture that brought New Orleans it’s first Super Bowl. He’s been a mentor to the younger offensive linemen on this roster, and should he retire will hopefully continue on with the franchise in some capacity.
He’s a consummate pro. And he’ll have a home in New Orleans, and in the hearts of Saints fans, for the rest of his life.