Once the first few days of NFL free agency had concluded, there weren't many quality offensive tackles left on the market. The market never developed for Zach Strief -- one of the league's best right tackles -- like he'd hoped it would.
Instead of waiting for someone else to blow him away with a lucrative contract, he's opting to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints:
The #Saints announced a five-year deal for OT Zach Strief this morning, and source says it's for $20.5M with $8.4M guaranteed. Solid.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2014
Drafted in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Strief has played his entire career with the Saints, and Pro Football Focus graded him their seventh overall tackle in 2013 and top right tackle.
For comparison, Andre Smith finished at their 11th-best RT. Like Strief, Smith also saw a big market for his services develop when he was a free agent last year.
Looking at Strief's deal, he's only making $4 million per year compared to Smith's deal, which pays him $6 million per year, but only has $5 million of it guaranteed. Strief got $8 million guaranteed.
Smith will be a free agent in 2016, and if his fellow right tackles around the NFL continue to get these kinds of deals, it shouldn't take as much trouble to re-sign him in '16 as it did in '13.
After Smith never got any team to show significant interest in him that offseason, he waited until Day 2 of the NFL Draft in late-April before signing a deal with he Bengals.
2016 will be a big offseason for the Bengals offensive line with Smith, along with Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler set to become free agents. As of now, Smith is the more important of the three to re-sign.