We continue a series that will likely span the length of the entire New Orleans Saints offseason where we look a key questions the Saints will face at various points of the year - the 2017 NFL Draft, free agency, and the 2017 regular season. We turn to a player who was a hot topic of discussion last season: former Dallas Cowboys Guard Ronald Leary.
Before the New Orleans Saints brought back Jahri Evans at the last minute before the 2016 regular season, there were questions for the Saints at both Guard positions. Would Andrus Peat be able to fill in? Who would the other Guard be? Ronald Leary of the Dallas Cowboys seemed like a natural fit in a trade as he was notably unhappy with a backup role in Dallas and looked to want a starting gig elsewhere.
Dallas instead chose to hang out to Leary, the five-year NFL veteran, for depth after he lost his starting role to La’el Collins. Collins then missed 12 games of the 2016 season due to injury, so keeping Leary turned out to be a great decision for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. Now Leary is an unrestricted free agent, and while Dallas is sure to want Leary back for 2017, he is likely to pursue a starting job with another team.
The Saints will likely be in a similar position this offseason with Jahri Evans set to leave again in free agency, so the Saints would seemingly be able to bring in Leary to fill that void without paying the price of a draft pick in a trade. Again, Leary and the Saints look like a great match for each other with the Saints having a starting spot and salary cap space to give. However, Leary has played his entire career as a blindside blocker on the left side of the offensive line. Signing Leary would mean he would either play on the right side for the first time in his career, or the Saints would have to shift Andrus Peat back to right guard, a position he reportedly struggled with early in his career.
Leary would be a welcome addition to the Saints offensive line, no matter where he or Peat are pencilled in. The question just remains whether or not another team is willing to pay him more to be a starter elsewhere.