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Saints 2018 Year in Review: Terron Armstead

Despite not having a full workload all year, Terron Armstead got noticed as an elite left tackle around the league.

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NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints starting left tackle Terron Armstead was having a pretty stellar 2018 season. He looked incredible and nearly impenetrable through the first ten weeks of the year, but then disaster struck on the road game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Armstead exited the game due to a shoulder injury, which turned out to be a pectoral injury that was going to require a considerable time frame to heal. The Saints did a nice job of weathering the storm without Armstead for several games with veteran Jermon Bushrod, but things finally caught up to the offense during the Dallas game.

Armstead returned to action in a pivotal late season showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16. He toughed it out, but didn’t quite look himself and had to exit the game early, and then took the regular season finale off. The extra weeks of rest between Week 17 and the Divisional Round against the Eagles proved to be just what Armstead needed, as he had a good showing in both postseason

Terron Armstead - At a Glance

  • Approximate Value: 10 (Highest of career)
  • Pro Football Focus Rank: 3rd out of 80
  • Overall Grade: 87.4
  • Pass Block Grade: 90.4 (436 snaps)
  • Run Block Grade: 76.5 (306 snaps)
  • Total Snaps: 742

Despite missing a stretch of five straight games in the middle of the year, Armstead was a unanimous choice to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl as their starting left tackle, getting the most fan votes at 346,860. The players and coaches also thought the same, and he was officially announced to the starting roster. Pro Football Focus named Armstead as their 47th best player in their Top 101 series, stating that he tied for the fourth-best pass-blocking efficiency in 2018. He was also named to the second All-Pro team.

Here’s just a taste of what Armstead did in 2018, as he provided some key blocks in the passing game to help spring Alvin Kamara, and also open up the running lanes for Mark Ingram.

In 2019, Armstead’s salary cap hit escalates to $16 million, which is the second-highest on the team behind Drew Brees. He already restructured his contract in November, and will turn 28 in July. On one hand, you have a case of a player who hasn’t played a full season in the league since bursting onto the scene in 2013. On the other hand, the Saints have made sure to have an insurance policy of sorts to compensate for this.

New Orleans would obviously like to lower this cap charge in 2019 to create some space, as his hits over the final three years of his current deal come at an average of $15.5 million/year until he becomes a free agent in 2022. According to Spotrac, he’s the No. 3 highest cap hit among all left tackles in 2019. Perhaps a contract extension might be a way to be a win-win for both parties involved.