9:33am: The deal, which is actually guaranteed for $8.4MM, features a $5.5MM signing bonus, a source tells ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett (Twitter link).
9:09am: According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), Strief’s deal is worth $4.1MM per year, which would put it at $20.5MM over five. Wilson adds that it includes $8.5MM in guaranteed money.
8:48am: Offensive lineman Zach Strief will be signing a new contract with the Saints today, agent Ralph Cindrich tells Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. It’s a five-year deal, according to the team (via Twitter). Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com had reported earlier this morning (via Twitter) that the two sides were meeting today and getting close to working out an agreement.
Strief, 30, has spent the first eight years of his NFL career in New Orleans, including the last three as the club’s starting right tackle. According to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), the former seventh-round pick enjoyed his best season in 2013, ranking as the league’s best right tackle and grading especially well as a pass blocker.
As I suggested on Friday, a new contract for Strief will be a challenge for the Saints to squeeze into their cap space, even after the team traded away Darren Sproles and extended Pierre Thomas. As we saw with their signing of Jairus Byrd though, the Saints have shown a willingness to get creative with the cap numbers on long-term contracts, so it’ll be interesting to see what the numbers on Strief’s deal look like.
The Dolphins reportedly had interest in bringing in Strief for a visit, but the tackle decided not to visit Miami, focusing instead on working out a new deal with the Saints.