Free-agent right tackle Zach Strief’s representative on Friday said it “looks like we’re moving” toward some kind of re-signing deal with the Saints; but nothing was at all finalized, and he didn’t expect it to be before at least Monday.
“Been talking with Saints,” Strief’s agent, Ralph Cindrich, wrote via email. “Looks like we’re moving there. Nothing to look at. Zach is out of town.”
Cindrich noted he had also talked to other teams about his client. He made his remarks following a widely-circulated Miami Herald report that said Strief declined an invitation to visit the Dolphins. “Never had any visits set up” anywhere, Cindrich wrote.
Cindrich had told The Advocate before free agency began and Strief went on the open market that there’s always been a mutual interest to keep his client in New Orleans, where he’s played his entire eight-year career. The Saints just weren’t in a position to make him a new offer when free agency began, Cindrich has said.
Considered one of the best remaining tackles left in free agency, Strief has been one of New Orleans’ offensive captains, and he has been one of their top locker-room leaders.
A seventh round draft pick for New Orleans in 2006, he’s started 42 games for the Black and Gold, including the playoffs. Head coach Sean Payton inserted him into the starting lineup three seasons ago.
After allowing just three sacks and four quarterback hits on one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the National Football League, the analytics website Pro Football Focus also gave Strief the seventh highest rating among tackles in the NFL.
Update (March 15, 10:34 a.m.): Cindrich said via Twitter on Saturday morning that Strief’s decision to not set up a visit with the Dolphins should not be interpreted as a snub to Miami. That happened simply because talks with the Saints “heated up,” he said.
“Dolphins front office class people,” Cindrich wrote. Cindrich also said that he sought out Miami and other teams as possible employers for Strief when the Saints couldn’t make the player an offer prior to the start of free agency.