The New Orleans Saints have offered starting guard Tim Lelito the $1.67 million tender as a restricted free agent, according to ESPN.
Lelito, who made 13 starts for the Saints last season at left guard, can still be pursued by other teams in free agency, but New Orleans has the right to match any offer.
If Lelito decided to leave for another team, the Saints would not get draft-pick compensation for his departure.
Bringing back Lelito solidifies an offensive line that took a hit when the Saints decided to release long-time stalwart Jahri Evans in February. Now, with Lelito protected, the Saints have a good chance to bring back six of the seven offensive linemen who made starts for the team in 2015.
Lelito battled a back injury at times, but the up-and-coming guard also played 951 snaps for the Saints’ offense, third-most on the team behind center Max Unger and right tackle Zach Strief.
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