In a likely sign that the New Orleans Saints feel confident about Sheldon Rankins' recovery from injury, the team will pick up the defensive tackle's fifth-year contract option, a source confirmed to The Advocate on Wednesday.
Ian Rappoport of the NFL Network first reported the news.
The report said the money is guaranteed for injury.
Rankins will miss the first part of the season after suffering a torn Achilles in the playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was asked on Monday about the team picking up Rankins' fifth year, but declined to comment on the matter. Loomis did, however, give an update on Rankins' injury.
"We're pleased with his progress," Loomis said.
According to a source, Rankins is no longer wearing a walking boot and is rehabbing in New Orleans.
The defensive tackle, drafted in the first round out of Louisville in 2016, finished last season with a career high in tackles (40) and sacks (8).
The news about Rankins' contract is another moment in a series of offseason moves by the Saints on their defensive line.
The team signed Malcom Brown, who spent the past four seasons with the New England Patriots. It also signed Mario Edwards Jr., who can play defensive tackle and end. Edwards spent last season with the New York Giants.
Two defensive linemen off last year's team signed elsewhere in free agency. Defensive tackle Tyeler Davison signed with the Atlanta Falcons on April 13. Defensive end Alex Okafor signed a three-year deal worth $18 million with the Kansas City Chiefs.
David Onyemata's status for the start of the season is unknown after he was cited for allegedly having marijuana delivered to his home.
The Saints enter the NFL draft with six picks. Barring a trade, the Saints will have a pick in the second round (No. 62 overall), one in the f…