Saints: Cesar Ruiz must help replace Larry Warford, a top-15 guard

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Cesar Ruiz, the New Orleans Saints’ first-round draft pick, will have big shoes to fill as they look to replace the recently-released Larry Warford.

The New Orleans Saints will be one of the best teams in the NFC yet again in 2020. However, a recent move has left some shocked, but those that track the team’s movements closely were certainly not.

The Saints released Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford.

Warford became a casualty of the cap as the Saints will save over $7 million. With his replacement already in the Big Easy and Andrus Peat signed on for a huge new contract, this was obviously going to happen at some point this offseason.

Over the last three seasons, Warford has been arguably the Saints’ best guard and has been one of the better ones in the entire NFL. Just a season ago, Pro Football Focus gave Warford the 11th-best grade among guards.

After four seasons in Detroit, a stretch in which he missed just seven games, Warford took his talents to the Big Easy. It was a fantastic addition, and New Orleans returned his loyalty by helping make him a three-time Pro Bowler.

Now, Warford is one of the top remaining free agents. While his $13 million salary was a bit much with Ruiz sitting on the bench, another team is about to get an absolute steal with Warford if he signed a deal that’s under eight-figures.

Ruiz will have the responsibility to come in and replace Warford.

Some analysts predict that Ruiz will slide to center, a position he played at Michigan, while last year’s second-round pick Erik McCoy will replace Warford. They are big fans of both Ruiz, McCoy and Peat because of their versaility across the line.

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That said, it’ll be big shoes to fill, but Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton have done an excellent job at finding top-tier talent so there’s no denying Ruiz has the strengths to be just as solid in the trenches.