Pick up Cesar Ruiz’s 5th Year Option or Don’t Pick Cesar Ruiz’s 5th Year Option…

That is the question the New Orleans Saints had to answer before this Tuesday’s deadline.

Seattle Seahawks v New Orleans Saints
Getty Images

If the Saints picked up his 5th year option, it would’ve guaranteed Ruiz 14.1 million in 2024 and the entire amount going towards the salary cap.

Below is the Top 8 paid Guards, ranked by average annual salary from sportrac.com.  Looking at that list, I’m not sure Ruiz belongs.  But sometimes these decisions are based on need and timing.  See Jones, Daniel, and the New York Giants.

attachment-Screen Shot 2023-05-01 at 1.20.38 PM

The Saints did draft versatile lineman Nick Saldiveri out of Old Dominion this weekend.  In fact, they traded up for him to begin Day 3 and the 4th Round. So apparently they think fairly high on their new offensive lineman.

For what it’s worth, the ourlads.com website had Saldiveri backing up LG Andrus Peat.

attachment-Screen Shot 2023-05-01 at 1.29.20 PM

While many believe Ruiz has improved, has it been enough to warrant more than 14 million in guaranteed money?

Apparently not.  

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported this morning the Saints have decided NOT to pick up Ruiz’s 5th year option.  

Does that mean Ruiz’s Saints career is over?  Not necessarily.  The Saints have a pair of salary cap gurus in Mickey Loomis and Khai Harley.  So if it’s deserved, I’m not concerned about giving Ruiz a long-term deal beginning next season.  

And if the Saints decide not to, they have Saldiveri waiting in the wings.

So it's really in Ruiz's hands.  He can excel and get a contract extension from the Saints.  Or struggle, take year to year deals, which unfortunately in the NFL, may be considered a shakespearean ending.

More From 97.3 The Dawg