Saints Trying Trevor Penning At Right Tackle, Made Effort To Re-Sign Andrus Peat

Two years after the Saints made Trevor Penning a first-round pick with an aim toward installing him as a long-term left tackle, the Division I-FCS product’s career has not panned out. After an injury-marred rookie season, Penning closed the 2023 campaign as a backup.

The Saints benched Penning in October, and the Northern Iowa alum did not play more than six offensive snaps in a game the rest of the way. Penning’s developmental struggles came as Ryan Ramczyk battled knee trouble to the point his availability for this season is in question. The Saints also saw three-year starter James Hurst announce his retirement before the draft and Andrus Peat join the Raiders soon after.

New Orleans’ tackle situation effectively mandated the team take advantage of this year’s deep draft class, and the team did by choosing Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga at No. 14. Despite playing right tackle primarily with the Beavers, Fuaga is ticketed to begin his pro career at left tackle. This would leave Penning in jeopardy of losing a path to a starting job, but Dennis Allen said (via WWL’s Jeff Nowak) the young blocker is now working at right tackle. He may well be the Saints’ top contingency plan in the event Ramczyk is unable to go this season.

Saints offensive line coach John Benton said (via’s Matthew Paras) the team had planned to kick Penning to the right side regardless of the Fuaga draft pick. This creates an unusual scenario in which the team moves a college right tackle to the left side and a player who had been slotted at the blindside post over to RT.

Chosen 19th overall in 2022, Penning missed 11 games as a rookie after sustaining a torn ligament in his foot just before the season. He then suffered a Lisfranc injury during a Week 18 game against the Panthers that turned into a bloodbath for O-line starters, as Carolina lost Austin Corbett and Brady Christensen to major injuries that day. Penning was in New Orleans’ lineup to start the 2023 season, but Peat ended up sliding to left tackle (with Hurst at left guard) after the Saints deemed Penning unready. The three-season Northern Iowa starter is already at an NFL crossroads, but the Saints may be counting on him to replace Ramczyk this season.

As for Penning’s 2023 replacement, Peat signed a one-year deal with the Raiders earlier this month. Peat, 30, started 102 games in nine seasons with the Saints — most of them at left guard. The former Pro Bowler did not receive too much attention in free agency (beyond a Titans visit), but Allen confirmed (via’s Mike Triplett) the team did pursue another deal with the 2015 first-rounder. Given Peat’s low-profile free agency, it appears New Orleans did not make a strong effort to keep him. Peat played out a five-year, $57.5MM deal last season.

Given the instability of the Saints’ O-line during the Penning years, it is a bit surprising rumors about Peat coming back on a third Saints contract did not circulate. Pro Football Focus did grade Peat outside the top 50 at tackle last season, and the longtime Saints LG missed 17 games between the 2021 and ’22 seasons. The Saints now have a host of left guard options — UFAs Oli Udoh, Lucas Patrick and Shane Lemieux, along with 2023 fourth-round pick Nick Saldiveri — post-Peat, though none brings the nine-year starter’s experience.

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