3. Nick Easton
Nick Easton is back on the free-agent market for a second time. He’s currently drawing interest from several teams including the Texans and Bengals, and the Saints themselves were still reluctant to let him go last February.
Easton was one of many Saints’ cap casualties in the offseason, but could a swift reunion be in the cards?
Easton has played all three interior offensive line spots throughout his career and spent the last two seasons with the Saints playing both left and right guard. In 2020, Easton played at right guard in 12 games last season and allowed 18 pressures and two sacks to earn a PFF grade of 59.6. Given that 60 is typically average (and Easton has never hit 60 in his career), he’s not exactly wowing the Saints with his physical prowess.
Prior to his Saints tenure, Easton impressed on the Vikings, where he played at left guard in 2017 and posted a pass-blocking grade above 75 in seven of twelve games. Easton picked up more penalties than his team would have liked but allowed just 12 pressures and zero sacks in over 400 pass-blocking snaps that year.
All the numbers to say, Easton is a solidly average player who adds tremendous reserve value to the Saints. In 2019, when Andrus Peat sat out due to injury, Easton played 38 percent of the Saints’ offensive snaps and committed only two penalties.
His 2020 injuries add some uncertainty to his potential production level next season, but Easton fits the role of a backup all-purpose offensive lineman perfectly. The Saints had to cut him because he wasn’t quite worth his hefty contract, but at the right price, Easton is a bargain-value depth chip that could go a long way.