The Saints now have a third offensive lineman signed to a high-end extension, with Ryan Ramczyk joining Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat as well-paid starters on a team with five first-rounders on its starting O-line. Multiple interesting details surfaced about Ramczyk’s deal Friday.
This five-year, $96MM pact will reduce Ramczyk’s 2021 cap number by $5.55MM, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Previously set to play on a fifth-year option salary worth just more than $11MM, Ramczyk’s cap number is down to $5.5MM. The Saints now have $11.4MM in cap space, according to OverTheCap, putting them 15th in the NFL in early July. They have come a long way from being more than $100MM over the cap earlier this year.
One component of Ramczyk’s deal generates intrigue about New Orleans’ future at the tackle position. The contract includes a $1MM bonus should Ramczyk be named a first- or second-team All-Pro at left tackle, Yates tweets. If Ramczyk earns this bonus, his salary balloons by $1MM in each subsequent year. He has earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors three times in four seasons at right tackle. While $6MM in incentives would be available, it would seem Ramczyk would not have a chance to trigger this escalator until at least 2022. Armstead is a free agent next year.
The Saints drafted Ramczyk in the 2017 first round, after he started 14 games at left tackle for Wisconsin. The former Division III recruit played one season of Division I football and has started all 63 games of his career at right tackle. Although the Saints invest highly in O-linemen and have consistently found ways to skirt salary cap trouble, having both Ramczyk and Armstead on top-tier tackle contracts would be an interesting scenario.
Armstead’s $13MM-per-year deal voids in March 2022, making him a free agent. The longtime Saints left tackle will turn 30 later this month, but Trent Williams just set a tackle record with a $23MM-per-year deal just ahead of his 33rd birthday. A Pro Bowler in each of the past three years, Armstead will be aiming high on his third contract. Williams is one of four left tackles whose deals surpass Ramczyk’s.
Regardless of which tackle position Ramczyk will settle at long-term, he is tied to the Saints through 2026. A $19MM signing bonus is part of Ramczyk’s $60MM in guarantees, and Yates adds the first two salaries on this backloaded deal will be $1.7MM (2021) and $10.5MM (’22). Ramczyk will make $14MM in base salary in 2023, with the rest of his salaries being north of $17MM. The deal’s final two years are non-guaranteed, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noting the 2023 and ’24 seasons feature partial guarantees.