A trouble spot at the beginning of the season, the Saints’ tackle situation has stabilized as they made their way into the NFC playoff race. But they won’t have an insurance policy that was once possible.
Zach Strief will not come off IR this season, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports. The veteran right tackle has been out since early October due to ACL and MCL injuries, and Triplett reports those maladies required surgery earlier this month.
Upon placing Strief on IR with what was then called an MCL sprain, the Saints hoped he would be able to return this season. But the 34-year-old blocker now has an uncertain future after a 12-year run in New Orleans.
While Strief and Drew Brees are the longest-tenured players on the roster, Strief has another year on his contract — unlike Brees. But the veteran tackle has taken a year-to-year approach with his career.
Coming off a serious injury and having seen first-rounder Ryan Ramczyk commandeer his position, Strief could see his tenure with the team conclude. However, the former seventh-round pick does have a team-friendly deal ($1.1MM base, $5.1MM cap figure).
Ramczyk and Terron Armstead are now entrenched as New Orleans’ tackles, although Armstead — who missed time with a labrum injury this season — is now dealing with thigh and shoulder ailments. Strief took over the Saints’ right tackle job in 2011 and has 98 career starts, including playoffs, during his 12-year run.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.