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Analyzing the New Orleans Saints’ offense heading into free agency

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Interior Offensive Line

Unlike with their tackle situation, the Saints will have little turnover on the interior offensive line most likely for the foreseeable future.

Now, that isn’t exactly for the best. Andrus Peat’s struggles have caused him to be benched in the past, but cutting him actually costs the Saints $7.8 million; he’ll be on the roster until next offseason, where there is less dead money attached to his contract.

Meanwhile, the team will need 2020 first-round pick Cesar Ruiz to take a massive step forward in his second season as a pro. He was in and out of the lineup this past season as he struggled with physical interior rushers, but he was young for his draft class and performed quite well in college:

Offensive linemen can take a few years to develop, so I’d expect Ruiz to take improve next season. That isn’t a guarantee, but it is something the Saints have no choice but to count on. If so, having a productive interior protector on a rookie contract is quite the pay-off.

The Saints won’t have to worry about Erik McCoy, who has solidified himself as a keystone on the offensive line.

He’ll continue to provide them with cheap production for at least two more seasons, while he and Ruiz could be the most athletic interior tandem in the league for several years if all goes well.

I’m not sure how New Orleans will handle interior pass rush next season if Peat continues to be a liability and Ruiz struggles, but they don’t have much choice. Outside of a depth signing/draft pick, this isn’t a photon that should be addressed this offseason.