The Saints are set to announce a major investment in one of their best players.
Offensive guard Jahri Evans, according to reports out of ESPN, is to receive a new seven year contract worth over $56 million.
Restricted free agent Evans is one of two players not working out with his team in the voluntary workout program at Saints headquarters, the other being LT Jammal Brown, also a restricted free agent.
Evans' deal will be one of the richest in Saints history and potentially the largest contract for a player at his position.
Evans' contract will apparently take advantage of the current lack of salary cap, loading $19 million of contract value into the 2010 season. After that, the contract is far more manageable on an annual basis, paying under seven million dollars in the second and third seasons combined. This is very prudent contract crafting that prevents Evans' deal from hurting the Saints' cap status when and if a salary cap returns.
Evans is the best player on a Saints' offensive line loaded with talent, anchoring the right guard position almost immediately as an unheralded late round pick out of unheard-of Bloomsburg University. His improbable ascent to NFL stardom was well chronicled by global news outlets during the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV run.
Though his position rarely gets limelight billing, Evans is widely regarded as among the best offensive linemen in the league.
In comparison, Drew Brees' 2006 contract was six years, $60 million dollars, and a new deal could also come for the Saints' star quarterback. Standout defensive end Will Smith signed a seven-year, $63 million contract in 2008.