Saints are fortunate to have two of the best tackles in the league
The New Orleans Saints are no stranger to having a top-five offensive line and the reason why their o-line is always so good is that they have two of the best tackles as the bookends to their offensive line.
By now, even non-NFL diehards know about Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk and how good they are. Both guys are entering the final year of their contracts and stand to make a lot of money, especially if the Saints fail to sign either of them to an extension prior to the season.
They need to try and agree to an extension with at least one of them because losing two top-tier tackles (try saying that five times fast) would be a huge blow to this team. Not only do the Saints have one of the league’s best tackles but both of them made CBS Sports’ list of the 10 best offensive linemen entering the 2021 season.
Tyler Sullivan, who wrote the article, had this to say about Armstead, who was No. 4 on the list:
"Armstead has been one of the league’s better left tackles for quite some time. With eight seasons now in the books, he has a career PFF grade of 92.1, which is tied for sixth among all tackles that have played at least a thousand snaps since 2013. Over that same stretch, he’s allowed pressure just 4.1% of the time. Last season was just another chapter in what has grown to be a dominant career."
The sad truth here is that left tackles don’t come cheap and it’s going to be really difficult for New Orleans to retain Armstead after this season. He’s only in his age-30 season and considering what kind of contract Trent Williams, who’s entering his age-33 season, signed earlier this offseason, Armstead would be foolish to take less money. Take the massive contract while you can.
Regarding Ramczyk, Sullivan said:
"Ramczyk earned second-team All-Pro honors after another strong season in 2020. The former first-round pick saw his fifth-year option get picked up earlier this offseason and it’s tough to blame the Saints for it. After all, Ramczyk is arguably the best run-blocking tackle in the entire NFL and shines in pass protection as well. Since coming into the league in 2017, he’s PFF’s highest-graded run-blocker and the fourth-highest graded tackle overall. On top of that, Ramczyk has also been a durable piece along the O-line, never playing fewer than 95% of the offensive snaps during the regular season."
Between the two tackles entering their final deal, it makes more sense to keep Ramczyk for more reasons than one. The biggest is that he’ll be cheaper than Armstead, as right tackles are a little more affordable.
The second reason is that Ramczyk is younger, having turned 27 in April. The Saints took him in the first round in 2017 despite not really needing a tackle and it’s been worth it. Ramczyk has been one of the most consistent players on New Orleans’ roster and if they have to pick between him and Armstead, they need to do what they can to keep Ramczyk in the Big Easy.
With a new quarterback taking over this year, it’s important for the Saints to surround them with a top-notch offensive line and that’s exactly what they’re doing. Having two of the best tackles on the roster can’t hurt and it’s just another thing Saints fans have to be thankful for.