Saints May Let Jahri Evans Test The Free Agent Market.
At 33 years old, Jahri Evans is starting to reach the last few years of his usefulness in the NFL but that might be just what the Lions need right now. The 11 year pro is no slouch by any means, with six career pro-bowls, four first team all pros, and a Super Bowl ring under his belt. Although he had a down 2015 season that had many people thinking he was done, he rebounded last year to get back to above average form. He is one of the best players of his era and could fill a large need should Larry Warford head for greener pastures in coming months.
What Does Jahri Evans Bring To The Table?
First and foremost Evans has one of the highest football IQ’s of any active offensive line player today. He would be a phenomenal veteran asset to have mentor one of the youngest offensive line groups in the NFL and show them what it takes to succeed at the next level. He also has experience transitioning between power run and zone blocking scheme’s successfully, making him particularly helpful for some of the few hold overs left from the last regime like Tomlinson in trying to revive them and help their effectiveness. Regarding his actual play ability, Evans showed above average play in the Saints outside zone scheme last season with strong pass protection and always quality run blocking to open holes up the middle. While he can’t peel out and block in space like he used to, if you ask him to handle the basics Evans is more then a competent option to plug in at right guard.
Why Could Jahri Evans Be Available?
The Saints are currently going through overhauling their talent and getting younger on offense to hopefully get in one last ride to a championship with Drew Brees. They’ve already fixed up several positions across the line and Evans is really the last veteran holdover left outside of Brees in that group. New Orleans already decided to move on from him a year ago and were forced to bring him back when their replacement plans imploded in the pre season. They will want to make the succession permanent this offseason whether through free agency or a draft pick in order to start gelling their new unit as a long term set.
The Bottom Line For Jahri Evans
Evans will be a relatively affordable player that in an ideal scenario you can give a one or two year contract to and have as a bridge player to one of the young guys on the roster that hopefully develop into that role or a future draft pick. If he can have another season like he did last year he can hold down his position in the short term in an effective manner while training both his future replacement and the entire offensive line group around him. As the Lions did last year with Geoff Schwartz if he can’t prove his value over younger players or shows significant decline due to age you can always let him go and move on with a group that earned their positions and had to fight one of the best ever to keep them. For the price point he’s most likely going to be available at it will be difficult to find a player that can bring as much as Evans can to the table.