Andrus Peat is going to be one of the Saints’ most polarizing figures this offseason. The guard was drafted by the Saints in 2015, and the two biggest knocks against him are a history of injuries that is only growing as his career goes on and the fact that the Saints went on to spend high draft picks on the likes of All-Pro tackle Ryan Ramczyk and a phenomenal young center in Erik McCoy.
Last year, Peat started 10 of 16 games for the Saints, generally anchoring the left guard position. On an offensive line with Terron Armstead, McCoy, Larry Warford and Ramcyzk, it’s easy to stand out — and not in a good way — but Peat was generally solid this season. Perhaps not Pro Bowl-level solid (Peat was selected to the Pro Bowl late this season), but solid nevertheless.
There are two ways to view Peat’s impending free agency. 1.) He’s likely going to get solid bids from teams looking to shore up their interiors, bids that the Saints could be loathe to compete with or 2.) Continuity allows the Saints to have one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, and they should do whatever possible to maintain that continuity.
Independent of those camps is the fact that Peat was fairly solid last season. The Saints as a team allowed a mere 25 sacks. When Peat went down early agains the Falcons in Week 10, the Saints struggled to adapt and gave up a game-high six. The gave up six more throughout his six-game absence, so they weren’t devastated without him in the passing game. That was a game in which they were simply outmatched.
Peat had three penalties for the Saints this season, his lowest since his rookie year. Two of those penalties were false starts, whereas one was a hold. It’s a far cry from his nine penalties just a season ago, and an encouraging improvement.
All things told, Peat held the interior up well for the Saints, and he played better at guard than either Nick Easton or Will Clapp. So should the Saints move on from him this offseason? If they can pick up someone better, it’s worth discussing. The question, of course, is if there’s any player out there worth sacrificing continuity over heading into next season. The Saints rightfully have prided themselves on that continuity, and they’ve drafted extremely well. Time will tell if they roll the dice one more time.