Saints RT Ryan Ramczyk Facing Uncertain Future Over Knee Injury

Ryan Ramczyk will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the 2023 season, having been placed on injured reserve this weekend. His future in 2024 and beyond is uncertain given the nature of his knee injury, however.

After missing a pair of games, the veteran right tackle was moved to IR on Saturday. That guaranteed a four-week absence, meaning a deep playoff run would be required for him to be eligible to return. Based on Ramczyk’s remarks on the subject of his health, though, signficant improvement will need to be made over the course of the offseason for him to continue playing at his consistent high level.

The 29-year-old said, via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, that he is dealing with a cartilage defect in his knee, something which has been a nagging issue for years. The 2023 season in particular has proven to be challenging, and Ramczyk added he has been managing the injury since Week 1. Of particular concern is the fact not much cartilage remains in the affected knee, something which could limit the number of surgical options he has in the offseason.

“I don’t know,” the former All-Pro responded when asked about his next course of action. “I think those are the discussions we are going to have, that need to be had, and we’ll go from there… I’ll talk with surgeons, doctors, get as much as information as I can and then just make the best decision.”

Ramczyk’s contract runs through 2026, and (like many other Saints pacts of recent years) it has been restructured multiple times. As a result, he is due to count at least $25.23MM against the cap in each of the next three seasons; a void year (which carries a $2.58MM cap figure) also exists for 2027. A bonus of just over $10MM is in place from 2024-26, and moving on from the Wisconsin alum would create an annual dead cap charge of that amount in the event he were to be released.

Such action would only become feasible if little to no progress were to be made with respect to Ramczyk’s recovery, however. Long regarded as one of the league’s top right tackles, the former first-rounder has been a mainstay at his position throughout his seven-year career. Aside from the 2021 campaign, availability has not been a major concern. That could change in the near future, although Ramczyk remains hopeful he will be able to maintain his career for years to come.

“I feel like I’m not done yet. I feel like I still want to play,” he said. “I feel like I’m still passionate about the game. When you think about it like that, my mind frame is, ‘I want to play, and I want to keep doing it, so what can I do to get better, to not have this happen in-season?'”

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