For the first time this offseason, the New Orleans Saints have re-signed one of their own free agents who was a starter last year, inking 30 year old Zach Strief to a 5 year deal.

Citing his sources, Larry Holder of reports the 5 year deal is worth $20.5 million, with $8.4 million guaranteed.

Strief was drafted in 2006 in the 7th round (210th overall) out of Northwestern in Sean Payton's first season as head coach. He was voted an offensive captain by his teammates each of the past two seasons.

He received interest on the open market, primarily from the Miami Dolphins. However, the 6'7, 320 pound right tackle canceled a scheduled visit with the Dolphins, electing to stay in New Orleans while his agent worked out his contract.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis released the following statement on the re-signing of Strief.

“We are excited to announce that Zach will stay with us into the future. Not only has he done an excellent job at the right tackle position, but he has served us well as an offensive team captain for the past two seasons and has always been a great asset in the community since he first came here in 2006.”

The Saints starting offensive line for 2014 is taking shape. The only remaining question mark is the center position. Last season, Brian De La Puente served as the starter. However, he is currently an unsigned free agent. If he signs elsewhere, the Saints would look for a center on the open market.

Veteran Jonathan Goodwin is on the market. Goodwin was a Pro-Bowler with the Saints in 2009, anchoring the Saints offensive line on their way to a Super Bowl. However, he is 35 years old.

Another option could be moving second-year pro Tim Lelito from guard to center. Lelito started two games at right guard last year as an undrafted rookie.

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