After starting in 38 games over the last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, right tackle Zach Strief has agreed to a five-year contract with the team.
The Saints announced the deal on Monday morning:
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com provides more details on the contract for Strief:
The #Saints announced a five-year deal for OT Zach Strief this morning, and source says it's for $20.5M with $8.4M guaranteed. Solid.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2014
Mickey Loomis, the team's general manager, spoke about the signing of the offensive lineman, according to NewOrleansSaints.com:
We are excited to announce that Zach will stay with us into the future. Not only has he done an excellent job at the right tackle position, but he has served us well as an offensive team captain for the past two seasons and has always been a great asset in the community since he first came here in 2006.
The seventh-round selection from the 2006 NFL draft has transformed his play for the Saints and was a huge key in their 2013 success. Starting in 15 games, Strief held the line for quarterback Drew Brees and helped the team finish 11-5 after going 7-9 during the previous season.
Mike Detillier of WWL-870 said last Friday that Strief should have been a top priority for the Saints this offseason:
Bringing back OT Zach Strief should be priority# 1 for Saints. Underrated pass protector- team had success running to right side late 2013.— Michael Detillier (@MikeDetillier) March 14, 2014
Strief's success on the field also led to him receiving interest from the Miami Dolphins and others, according to Larry Holder of NOLA.com. While he never met with the Dolphins, it did speed up talks between him and the Saints.
With his athleticism and size at 6'7", 349 pounds, Strief is a huge get for the Saints—literally and figuratively. Following a year where he was healthy for 15 games, a clean bill of health for the offensive lineman will make the signing a huge one for the future of the team.
The 30-year-old lineman had one of his best seasons ever in 2013 as the Saints returned to the playoffs. With his success continuing and New Orleans locking him up long term, the fan base should expect the same results as Brees will have plenty of time to find his targets down the field.
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