Saints return to free agency for veteran offensive line help after the NFL Draft

After putting together a solid draft class, the New Orleans Saints have started back signing veteran players in free agency, adding some offensive linemen.
New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals
New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints got their 2024 Draft started by selecting offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga with the 14th-overall pick. It was a selection that everyone saw coming. The Saints desperately needed help on the offensive line, so going in that direction with the team’s first pick just made sense. However, it was also clear that one rookie lineman wasn’t going to solve all of New Orleans’ offensive line problems.

That’s why the team has turned back to the free agent market to fill in the offensive line holes with some veterans. On Tuesday, the Saints announced that they signed offensive tackle Justin Herron and interior offensive lineman Shane Lemieux.

Saints sign Justin Herron and Shane Lemieux

Justin Herron was drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He has spent his four seasons in the league with the Patriots and the Las Vegas Raiders, being traded to Vegas in 2022. In New England, Herron started just 10 of the 28 games he played in. With the Raiders, he only played in seven games due to injuries, including a torn acl. He’ll now try to get things back on track with the Saints.

Shane Lemieux was drafted a round earlier than Herron in the same draft, going in the fifth round in 2020 to the New York Giants. He played all four of his years in the league with the Giants, but appeared in just 18 games. However, Lemieux did start 12 of those 18 games.

These aren’t high-profile signings but they are necessary depth signings of players with starting experience. With James Hurst now retired, and Ryan Ramczyk’s health and future up in the air, Herron and Lemieux could end up having big roles on the team. It’ll also be interesting to see what happens with Trevor Penning, and if New Orleans will look to bring back Andrus Peat, who is still a free agent and could help the offensive line.