Adam Forsythe / March 17, 2019
When New Orleans Saints’ center Max Unger shocked everyone by announcing his retirement yesterday, many Saints’ fans wondered how the team would replace Unger’s production. It didn’t take them long to find that replacement as the team signed former Minnesota Vikings’ offensive lineman Nick Easton only one day after losing Unger.
Although Easton was listed as a guard, he has experience at the center position. Easton signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Easton’s Pro Football Focus grade was the highest of any center in the preseason that year. The San Fransisco 49ers acquired Easton from the Ravens and then traded him to the Vikings shortly after.
Easton finally got the opportunity to start as he filled in for starting center Joe Berger in week 13 of the 2016 season. Easton also played the following week as Berger was unable to clear the concussion protocol. Easton’s work earned him a starting spot at the guard position for the Vikings in 2017 before he suffered a fractured right ankle in week 16 of that season. Unfortunately, Easton’s 2018 season ended before it even began after he suffered a neck injury in training camp.
Entering this offseason, Easton was a free agent. He received offers from both the Vikings and the Saints before ultimately accepting the four-year, $24 million offer to join the Who Dat Nation. Although Easton has had some injury problems in the past, he provides the Saints with a crucial piece to their offensive line as they were cut short at the center position courtesy of Unger’s sudden retirement.
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