3 Saints free agent predictions after Deshaun Watson chose Browns

New Orleans Saints (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints
Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Offensive Tackle

Current OTs on roster: Ryan Ramcyzk, James Hurst, Landon Young, Ethan Greenridge, Jerald Hawkins,

The big question regarding the free agency of the Saints’ Terron Armstead has never been about talent, but rather has focused on availability, given Armstead has missed 46 games in his nine-year career, all of which have been spent with New Orleans.

The 30-year-old Pro Bowl offensive tackle is considered by many to be the best free-agent remaining on the market in the NFL. The Saints, by virtue of previous restructuring, have a dead cap hit of 13 million dollars if Armstead is NOT on the roster at the beginning of the season.

One way to maneuver around such a hit would be to re-sign Armstead, thus plugging the obvious hole left at left tackle with his departure. A possible suitor for Armstead’s services has been the Cincinnati Bengals, who have already signed ex-Patriots center Ted Karra and guard Alex Cappa, and now are in pursuit of recently released former LSU Tiger Lael Collins.

Assuming Collins signs with the Bengals, Armstead could potentially return to the Saints for a minimal cap charge this year given the implications of the dead cap carried over from the previous restructure.

Other options in free agency include Nate Solder, Bryan Bulaga, and former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher.

The NFL draft has several potential starters at offensive tackle, including Alabama’s Evan Neal, N.C. State’s Ikem Ekwonu, and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, all of whom are expected to be off the board when the Saints select at 18. Keep an eye on Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, whose play reminds some of former Saint Kyle Turley, as an option for the Saints if they don’t secure an offensive tackle in free agency.

Prediction: Terron Armstead re-signs with the Saints on a four-year deal worth $80 million