DECEMBER 21: A Lisfranc injury will shut down Ruiz, Dennis Allen said Wednesday. This troublesome foot issue will bring to an end a 31-game start streak for the third-year blocker.
DECEMBER 20: Shortly after seeing Erik McCoy return from IR, the Saints will be without another of their interior offensive line starters. The team moved Cesar Ruiz to IR on Tuesday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
Although Ruiz played all 55 of New Orleans’ offensive snaps against Atlanta in Week 15, the former first-round pick will be shut down with a foot injury. He would not be able to return until the divisional round of the playoffs. The Saints are still vying for the NFC South title, even at 5-9, but this transaction will probably end Ruiz’s third season.
Saturday will be only Ruiz’s second missed game as a pro. The Saints have turned to the Michigan product at guard and center, primarily stationing him at guard opposite Andrus Peat. Ruiz worked as the Wolverines’ starting center during his sophomore and junior seasons, entering the NFL after the latter slate, but the Saints shuttled him to guard due to McCoy’s presence.
The Saints have invested significantly in their interior O-line, having Peat and McCoy signed to extensions. Ruiz becomes eligible for a new deal in January, but the Saints can slow-play this process by exercising his fifth-year option and waiting until 2024 to consider an extension. New Orleans has four former first-round picks and an ex-second-rounder (McCoy) along its O-line.
The 24th overall pick in 2020, Ruiz started all 17 games last season and all 14 thus far this year. Pro Football Focus rates Ruiz 58th among full-time guards this season, a number right in line with his 2021 assessment. Ruiz, however, allowed a career-low 16 quarterback pressures, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets. It will be interesting to see how the Saints proceed regarding Ruiz’s option, given the team’s extensive work fortifying its front.
To fill Ruiz’s roster spot, the Saints signed Ty Summers off the Jaguars’ practice squad, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. A former Packers draftee who saw action from 2019-21 in Green Bay, the TCU-produced linebacker has played in three Jags games this season.