The New Orleans Saints have addressed depth on their offensive line by agreeing to terms and re-signing veteran free agent James Hurst.
The three-year, $9 million agreement with the seventh-year offensive lineman included $5 million guaranteed, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Hurst, 29, has incentives in the deal. The contract is worth up to $13.5 million if he becomes a starter in New Orleans.
Hurst, 6-5, 310 lbs, was a free-agent signing in 2020 by New Orleans after six years as an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. The NFL suspended him for the first four games of 2020 because of a violation of the league's performance-enhancers policy. He returned to the New Orleans active roster on Monday after the team faced Detriot in Week 4.
Hurst's value as a swingman offers versatility on Saints' talented offensive line. He can play the tackle and guard positions for New Orleans. In 2019, he was a member of the Ravens' offensive line that set an NFL-record of 3,296 yards rushing.
In 2020, Hurst started five games for starting offensive tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk.
New Orleans has been restructuring most players' contracts, but LT Terron Armstead's contract has not been revised. Armstead's cap number is $16.2 million, and the Saints have time to rework his agreement to fall under the $182 million cap limit set and agreed on by the NFL and NFLPA.
New Orleans can draft an offensive lineman in the 2021 NFL Draft in April. The extra three compensatory picks could help the Saints maneuver up the draft board and select a player they value.