The New Orleans Saints Should Consider Inking A Deal With This Two-Time Super Bowl-Winning Offensive Lineman

Reinforcing the offensive line before training camp with this veteran could help Derek Carr's season.
LT Donovan Smith
LT Donovan Smith / Feb 10, 2021; Tampa Bay, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Donovan Smith dances with the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a boat parade to celebrate victory in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Why would the New Orleans Saints consider signing Donovan Smith? Let's see what Andy Reid said about Smith's capabilities in protecting his franchise quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

Reid spoke to the media about bringing in Smith last season, "He was one of the top-rated left tackles in the league. We've had a chance to play against him a couple of times. I've seen him firsthand. Good football player."

Andy Reid strategically sought out seasoned offensive lineman Donovan Smith before his third Super Bowl campaign with the Chiefs. The dominoes began to fall after Orlando Brown Jr could reach an agreement with Kansas City.   

Smith signed after they had secured Jawaan Taylor as the new left tackle with a four-year, $80M deal. Reid planned for Smith to shift to the right tackle, but he eventually supplanted Taylor protectin Mahomes' blindside.

Donovan Smith
Bills cornerback Taron Johnson and Chiefs left tackle Donovan Smith have a laugh during a t.v. timeout in the second half of the Bills divisional game against Kansas City Chiefs at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park on Jan. 21, 2024. / Tina MacIntyre-Yee /Rochester Democrat

The New Orleans Saints, well-versed in Donovan Smith's prowess on the offensive line, are actively seeking solid protection for Derek Carr. Therefore, it's common to hear Smith's name as a potential target for New Orleans. His performance has notably improved since his days in Tampa, making him a valuable asset for the Saints.  

In the three seasons, Smith kept Tom Brady upright in the Bucs' pocket, PFF graded him 71.8 (2020), 83.3 (2021), and 58.1 (2022).   

Admittedly, he had a steep drop in his performance, but to be fair, the entire Tampa Bay offensive line struggled in Brady's final year. Smith surrendered six sacks in 2022 but improved with Mahomes as he yielded just one sack and nine penalties in 749 offensive snaps. One area that may not be compatible with Klint Kubiak's scheme is that Smith's run-blocking keeps tailing off with a 45.1 PFF grade.


In a recent interview, WWL's Mike Detillier expressed concern about the New Orleans offensive line. Without RT Ryan Ramczyk at OTAs, G Andrus Peat resetting his career in Las Vegas, and recently retired LT James Hurst gone, the line faces a murky future like the Mississippi River.

Dennis Allen assigned this year's first-round pick, Taliese Fuaga, to the left tackle position in rookie minicamp and OTAs. Last season's first-round pick, Trevor Penning, appears to settle nicely on the right side, filling in for Ramczyk. Could it become a permanent spot?

The training camp battle at left guard will include candidates like Nick Saldiveri, Mark Evans II, Lucas Patrick, Shane Lemieux, Kyle Hergel, Justin Herron, and Oli Udoh. All are salivating for playing time to earn the spot.

Ryan Ramczyk
Jan 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk (71) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In 2023, John Hendrix listed the snap counts for the offensive lineman:

Saints Offensive Line 2023 Snap Counts

  • Erik McCoy - 1,152 (99.48%)
  • Cesar Ruiz - 978 (84.46%)
  • James Hurst - 931 (80.4%)
  • Andrus Peat - 809 (69.86%)
  • Ryan Ramczyk - 785 (67.79%)
  • Trevor Penning - 416 (36.01%)
  • Max Garcia - 320 (27.63%)
  • Landon Young - 213 (18.39%)
  • Cameron Erving - 208 (17.96%)
  • Nick Saldiveri - 18 (1.55%)
  • Tommy Kraemer - 8 (0.69%)

Without Hurst, Peat, and Ramczyk, New Orleans loses most of its offensive line leadership, with 2,525 snaps missing ahead of the 2024 season.

Smith, 30, is without a home as he enters his 10th NFL season. Having another bonafide veteran offensive lineman who played for two Super Bowl championship teams going into training camp would be an excellent contingency plan. It might be time for Mickey Loomis to consider signing another free-agent offensive lineman before another team inks him to a deal. Will the Saints make a move?

We shall see.

Tampa Bay selected Donovan Smith out of Penn State as the 34th overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He's a native of Hempstead, NY, and played high school football at Owings Mills in Maryland.

Kyle T. Mosley