Ex-Ravens OL James Hurst, Saints Agree to 1-Year Contract Amid PED Suspension

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2020

Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle James Hurst looks on during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints and offensive lineman James Hurst, who received a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy in February, reached an agreement on a one-year contract for the 2020 season.

Jack Bechta, Hurst's agent, announced the deal Wednesday. Financial terms weren't immediately released.

The 28-year-old UNC product signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He went on to make 90 appearances, including 44 starts, across six years with the organization.

Hurst was a jack-of-all-trades in Baltimore. He can play anywhere along the line and also received snaps as a blocking tight end and on special teams.

He discussed his versatility in a December 2018 interview with Ryan Mink of the Ravens' official website:

"I take a great deal of pride in that. It's mostly just knowing that I can be relied upon. If the team needs me to be somewhere, I can get the job done and play at a high level. I take pride in that. It's tough [to switch positions]. Every position is different, every stance is different, the footwork and the players going against you are going to vary. But I enjoy that I can be counted on to get the job done, and that the coaches trust me to move me and shift around to fill in the gaps we may have week to week."

The Saints were in the market for offensive line depth after releasing veteran guard Larry Warford, who'd earned three straight Pro Bowl selections, in early May.

Hurst could compete for a starting spot at guard opposite Andrus Peat. His main competition will be Cesar Ruiz, the team's first-round pick in the 2020 draft, with Cameron Tom, Derrick Kelly and Adrian Magee among the other contenders on the roster.

Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk are penciled in as the starters at tackle, and Erik McCoy is set to return at center after a strong rookie season in 2019.

Hurst's ability to fill in at any position should give him the inside track on a reserve job as part of the Saints' final 53-man roster, even if he doesn't win a starting spot.