New Orleans Saints: Individually grading the team’s dominant offensive line

Ryan Ramczyk #71 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Ryan Ramczyk #71 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /



2019 Statistics

Offensive Snaps Played: 409

Penalties: 3

Sacks Allowed: 1

PFF Grade: 49.3

2020 Status: Signed Through 2022

Nick Easton‘s career started as an undrafted rookie in 2015, but was later signed by the Baltimore Ravens. Easton then went on to play for several years with the Minnesota Vikings, being placed on IR twice during his tenure with the team.

Easton never really shined during his time with the Vikings, and many in Minnesota weren’t concerned about the veteran lineman leaving the team in 2019.

Last year, the Saints signed Easton for 4 years at $22.5M, with $4M guaranteed.

When this signing happened, we understood we needed help after the Unger departure, but even then this felt way overspent. Here was a player who was middle of the road and had not started many games.

Easton played roughly half as many snaps as McCoy and still gave up a sack to tie his season total as a rookie. He filled in from time to time for various injuries on the line, and never gave the Saints any real sense he could be a solid player off the bench, especially at that price tag.

So, what is the future for Easton in New Orleans? He would cost more than twice as much to keep around than the starter, and his production was demonstrably worse this past season than McCoy.

His 2020 cap hit is $5,343,750. He is signed through the 2022 season, however, if released before next season, the Saints cap hit would be slashed to $1,500,000.

This may be a clear-as-day move, but they also signed him knowing what he brought to the table. The cap slashing move would help with upcoming signings for other positions entering free agency.