These are some contracts given to right tackles over the past 2 off-seasons: Sebastian Vollmer (4 years, 17 million), Andre Smith (3 years, 18 million), Phil Loadholt (4 years, 25 million), Austin Howard (5 years, 30 million), and Michael Oher (4 years, 20 million). Given that, it’s a great value that Saints got Zach Strief for 20.5 million over 5 years, less average annual value than all of the aforementioned right tackles, and only 8.5 million guaranteed.
Strief is going into his age 31 season, which is part of why they were able to get him so cheap, but there’s no guaranteed money on this deal after the first 2 seasons, so the Saints can cut him fairly pain-free once he begins to decline. With the exception of an injury plagued 2012 season, Strief has been one of the best right tackles in the game over the past 3 seasons, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 14th ranked offensive tackle in 2011 (6th right tackle), and 7th ranked offensive tackle in 2013 (1st right tackle). His age and injury history are a concern, but this is a relatively risk-free deal that could pay big dividends for a Saints team struggling to keep their offensive line together.