New Orleans Saints Offseason Preview: What do to at left guard?
What should the New Orleans Saints do during the offseason to maintain their domination on the offensive line?
It was another great season for the New Orleans Saints stout offensive line in 2019, even after losing star center Max Unger to retirement. Injuries played a factor once again in the middle of the season, with Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, and Larry Warford all missing time.
Nonetheless, the Saints had enough quality depth on the roster to get by, with players like Patrick Omameh and Nick Easton stepping up when called upon. With four out of five starters returning in 2020, the Saints should have very little change to this unit if healthy.
Ryan Ramczyk was the best right tackle in all of football last year, earning First-Team All-Pro honors.
He gave up zero sacks and only committed four penalties all season. Ramczyk has been an anchor on the right side of the Saints offensive line since being drafted in 2017 and, at only 25 years old, will hopefully be around in New Orleans for his entire career.
Larry Warford had another solid season since signing a four-year, $34 million contract with the Saints in 2017. The 28-year old right guard only gave up three sacks and committed four penalties the entire season.
Warford’s cap hit will rise all the way up to almost $13 million in 2020, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Saints elected to extend or restructure his contract in order to free up some cap space.
Nonetheless, I do believe he will most likely be the team’s starting right guard for at least another season.
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The Saints traded up for center Erik McCoy out of Texas A&M in the 2019 Draft and were not disappointed. The rookie filled in nicely for the newly retired Max Unger, working well with both Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees.
McCoy started every game, playing almost 100% of snaps and allowed only one sack all season. He did commit eight penalties throughout the season but wasn’t flagged again during the final six weeks. His steady improvement every game earned him recognition on the PFWA All-Rookie Team.
I personally am very excited to see what’s in store for McCoy next season. Based on his upward trend all season, I believe the 2nd-year player has a chance to be a top center in the NFL for a very long time.
Terron Armstead had another great season in 2019, playing all but one game while constantly fighting through injury.
The 28-year-old suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 12 against the Carolina Panthers and managed to come back in Week 14 in a huge game against the San Francisco 49ers, which ultimately decided the number one seed in the NFC.
His importance to the team, even when not fully healthy, is unparalleled. Even when well below 100%, Armstead is one of, if not the best left tackle in the League.
That leaves only left guard as a question that needs to be answered this offseason.