The Saints dynamic tackle duo may have to be split up in the near future

Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

With a challenging offseason ahead, should the New Orleans Saints look to preemptively break up their tackle duo of Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead?

The New Orleans Saints are going to have to foot a massive bill both this offseason and next. They won’t be able to retain all their talent including their dynamic tackle duo of Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead.

Now, breaking them up or trading either of them is certainly not on anyone’s favorite list of things to talk about, but it could be a very real possibility as both are going to be free agents at the start of the 2022 season.

Both would have enormous value on the market.

In October of 2020, Pro Football Focus did a ranking of the top 50 best offensive and defensive lineman, combining some of the most underrated positions in football. Ramczyk, Armstead, and Cameron Jordan all cracked the top 20.

Ramczyk, the team’s 2017 first-round pick, came in at No. 13. Jordan and Armstead were back to back at 16 and 17. With a league of 32 franchises, having three in the top 20 is an insane combination of talent that calls the Big Easy home.

That said, Ramczyk will be playing on his fifth-year option off his rookie contract in 2021 while Armstead finishes up his contract.

Both have upside, but it’ll be tough for the Saints to bring both back and stay under the salary cap, especially with Marshon Lattimore also hitting the open market next offseason. If that’s impossible, the Saints could preemptively trade one of them.

If that does happen, it makes far more sense to trade Armstead as his age and injury history aren’t on his side. ESPN’s Mike Triplett also noted that there could be a small perk that makes Ramczyk more valuable.

“Also, it’s not out of the question that Ramczyk could move back to his college position of left tackle if New Orleans decided to move on from Armstead,” Triplett wrote.

Armstead is a rare talent for his size. He’s athletic and has served as a dominant tackle since coming to the Big Easy. However, what it’s going to take to keep him around may not be worth it. It’s also notable that the Saints could get a massive return for him.

In 2019, the Dolphins pulled off a blockbuster trade that landed them two first-round picks (one being the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft) and a second-round pick. That trade was for Laremy Tunsil, a left tackle the Texans needed to help protect Deshaun Watson.

Sadly for them, Watson has demanded a trade, J.J. Watt is heading elsewhere and a full-on rebuild could be in their future. For the Saints, they could do that to a franchise if they can get a similar deal for Armstead.

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If it’s there, they must take something that brings in multiple future high-value picks. Armstead is older than Tunsil and in a contract year, so it could be less of a load. Either way, parting with the duo before paying both makes sense.