Barring a deep playoff run on the part of the Saints, Ryan Ramczyk‘s season has come to an end. The veteran right tackle was placed on injured reserve Saturday, per a team announcement.
Ramczyk has been dealing with a knee injury which has forced him to miss the past two games. Today’s move comes after he was unable to practice at any point this week, so it is relatively unsurprising. Moving to IR guarantees at least a four-week absence, so the 29-year-old will not be able to return until at least the divisional round of the postseason.
Reaching that point will be a challenge for New Orleans, one of three teams still in the running for the top spot in the NFC South. Sitting at 7-8 on the season, though, the Saints trail the surging Buccaneers for the division lead. A wild-card berth will also be difficult to secure given the team’s situation in the standings and the growing list of starters set to miss the remainder of the campaign.
Both cornerback Marshon Lattimore and wideout Michael Thomas are not expected to return by the end of the regular season as they recover from their respective injuries. Their absences will hinder New Orleans’ chances of claiming a playoff spot, and the team’s underwhelming offense will remain shorthanded without Ramczyk in the fold. The latter has started all 12 games he has played this season, remaining one of the league’s top tackles by drawing a PFF grade of 73.5.
That figure represents the lowest of the former All-Pro’s career, a sign of his consistent high-level play when healthy. Ramczyk is under contract through 2026, and his most recent restructure leaves him with cap hits over $25MM in each of the next three seasons. A return to full health will thus be critical for him and the team this offseason. 2021 sixth-rounder Landon Young is in place to finish the season as New Orleans’ right tackle starter.
To fill Ramczyk’s roster spot, the Saints signed fellow O-lineman Cameron Erving to the active roster. He had been on the team’s practice squad since October, and he has made one appearance to date with New Orleans. Erving, 31, has played 96 games (57 starts) across his time with five teams in the league. He will provide experienced depth up front for the Saints as the team’s playoff push reaches it closing stage.