NFL Free Agency 2014: Saints Must Sign Zach Strief

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Why the New Orleans Saints should, and probably will, sign offensive tackle Zach Strief.

The Saints made a splash during the initial NFL free agency frenzy when they signed Jairus Byrd, the top free agent safety available in 2014, to a huge 6-year $54 million contract. But the Saints still have a glaring hole at right tackle that still needs to be addressed.

It needs to be addressed quickly and it needs to be addressed in free agency, not the draft. We are entering the second wave of free agency and now that all the top talent is out of the picture, the pickings are slim. For the Saints, though, the answer to their major need at right tackle is a simple one: re-sign Zach Strief.

Plain and simple, Strief is the best remaining right tackle available in free agency. He is the second highest rated free agent tackle overall, according to Pro Football Focus. And for the Saints, he's their best option. Strief has got size, talent, and he already knows the system inside and out.

I'm sure that's what  we'll see happen sooner rather than later. It just makes sense. The Miami Dolphins have shown serious interest in Strief but he's turned down offers to visit. What free agent does that - turns away the opportunity with another team - unless they're very certain they're going to be taken care of by their current team? It's gonna happen.

And they might as well make it a long-term deal, maybe a five-year contract. Strief will be 31 years old in August, entering the final phase of his NFL career. Drafted in 2006, he is one of the few guys still on the Saints roster since the Payton era started. That speaks volumes. Besides, a long contract would allow the Saints to spread the money out over time, making it very cap friendly for 2014.

So let the guy finish out his career here in New Orleans, where it all started. He's well-liked and respected by the coaching staff, the other players, and the organization. As I've stated before, protecting Drew Brees in the twilight of his career is not a matter to be taken lightly.

The Saints should, and most likely will, get a deal done soon with Zach Strief.

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