According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, starting center Max Unger suffered a foot injury and will miss about five months. The anchor of their offensive line, who came to Louisiana in a trade for tight end Jimmy Graham in 2015 and started 31 of 32 possible games, will start the season on the physically unable to perform list, Rapoport reported on Good Morning Football on Monday.
The 30-year-old, two-time Pro Bowler was a perfect fit for Drew Brees‘ cerebral command of the offense. Now, the Saints might be dipping into the untested waters of veteran free agency. Seven-time Pro Bowler Nick Mangold, who just turned 33, is currently available. Former undrafted free agent Jack Allen is theoretically the next man on up the Saints‘ depth chart.
The only silver lining for the Saints at this point is that they have time. The Unger issue came to light before the rigors of training camp and allows for some long-term planning at the position.
In order to keep Brees and Peterson happy, Unger’s fill-in replacement has to be a quick study.