The Saints have agreed to terms with Senio Kelemete on a two-year extension worth up to $4 million, according to a source.
Kelemete, who has been with the Saints in 2013, was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason. This deal will keep him in town for two more seasons.
Kelemete appeared in five games last season, as New Orleans worked to find a consistent option opposite Evans. Andrus Peat and Tim Lelito also started some games at left guard.
Kelemete played in 10 games during the 2014 season.
New Orleans also has a decision to make on the future of Lelito, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent. The Saints have until March 9 to either sign him to an extension or to tender him an offer. If neither thing occurs, Lelito will be free to sign with another team.
Tight end Josh Hill is also a restricted free agent.
It’s unclear what the team plans to do with Lelito and Hill. Running back Khiry Robinson is also a restricted free agent but a source indicated earlier this week that the Saints are not expected to tender him an offer.
The Saints have a need at guard after letting go of Jahri Evans earlier this offseason.
Even with Kelemete back in the fold, regardless of what happens with Lelito, it’s likely the Saints will enter the offseason looking to add bodies at guard either via free agency or the draft.
While the Saints might have a leader for the position in-house, it seems likely the team will want to bring someone to compete for the job. A developmental option via the draft to develop for the future could also be an option.
This marks the second offseason the Saints have entered the offseason with uncertainty on the offensive line.
New Orleans traded away veteran guard Ben Grubbs to the Kansaas City Chiefs prior to the start of the 2015 season. Speaking at the owner’s meetings last March, coach Sean Payton said the Saints also explored trade possibilities on Evans.
Before being released last month, Evans said throughout the season he expected to return to New Orleans and had talked about his future with Payton.