On Friday, May 8 the New Orleans Saints let go of starting right guard Larry Warford.
Source: The #Saints have cut guard Larry Warford, who will be one of the top FAs available.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 8, 2020
This news came as a slight shock. Warford’s time with the team seemed limited after drafting Cesar Ruiz in the first round. However, it was expected for Warford to compete with Ruiz for the starting job in training camp and possibly get traded between now and Week 1. Nobody expected him to get released or even this early.
Warford has started every game he has ever played in the NFL, dating back from when he played for Detroit Lions (2013-2016). Warford had made the Pro Bowl in each of the three seasons he was with the Saints.
This past season Warford earned a 73.1 grade from PFF this past season only allowing two sacks on 970 snaps. That is 11th in the league at his position.
Where could he end up?
Cleveland Browns: 2 years $23 Million
The Cleveland Browns have never been afraid of snagging big-name players. Warford would fill the last hole on the Browns’ offensive line that crippled them a year ago. They also have the second most remaining salary cap in the entire league so paying Warford at his value shouldn’t be an issue.
Projected Offensive Line: LT: Jedrick Wills*, LG: Joel Bitonio, C: J.C. Tretter, RG: Larry Warford, RT: Jack Conklin*
Miami Dolphins: 3 years $34.5 Million
The Miami Dolphins have the most salary cap available in the league so not doing their research on Warford would just be irresponsible. Even though there is a possibility Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t play a single snap for the Dolphins this season, they should still bolster their offensive line for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense he will run this season. The Dolphins had one of the worst offensive lines in the league last season and after a few improvements aren’t done building it.
Projected Offensive Line: LT: Julien Davenport/Austin Jackson*, LG:Ereck Flowers*, C: Ted Karras, RG: Larry Warford, RT: Robert Hunt*/Jesse Davis
Cincinnati Bengals: 2 years $23 Million
The Cincinnati Bengals have historically not liked to pay for outside help and spend much in free agency. However they have broken that mold this offseason paying players like D.J. Reader, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander,and Xavier Sua Filo to large contracts. They also just invested the first overall pick in Joe Burrow and need to get him some protection. The Bengals offensive line has been one of the worst in football for some time now. No matter how many weapons they give Burrow it won’t mean much if he doesn’t have time to get them the ball. Larry Warford doesn’t fix all the issues the Bengals have on their line, but signing him is a step in the right direction for making sure Joe Burrow has the best career he possibly can.
Projected Offensive Line: LT: Jonah Williams, LG: Xavier Sua Filo*/Michael Jordan, C: Trey Hopkins/Billy Price, RG: Larry Warford, RT: Bobby Hart
Tennessee Titans: 2 years $22 Million
The Tennessee Titans shocked the world by making it all the way to the AFC Championship last season. But after an underwhelming offseason where they lost some major contributors and missed out on big-name free agents, they could possibly be the most overrated team going into next season. The Titans’ biggest liability on their offensive line last season was rookie guard Nate Davis. Now that former All-Pro Jack Conklin left in free agency and was replaced by a raw first-round player in Isaiah Wilson, their right side of their offensive line is going to be a huge weakness and liability in their ground and pound offense. Inserting Warford at right guard gives Isaiah Wilson time to develop and eliminates that side of the line as their biggest weakness on offense. Signing Warford could be the difference between a below .500 season or a playoff run for the Titans.
Projected Offensive Line: LT: Taylor Lewan, LG: Roger Safford, C: Ben Jones, RG: Larry Warford, RT: Isaiah Wilson/Dennis Kelly/Ty Sambrailo
Seattle Seahawks: 2 years $20 Million
The Seattle Seahawks are attempting to gut and rebuild their offensive line, especially on the interior. The Seahawks have either cut or moved on from three offensive line starters from last season (Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi). Warford can be Seattle’s only stable offensive line starter besides Duane Brown next season. They have the salary-cap space available to sign him to a reasonable contract and also will be a contender in the NFC next season.
Projected Offensive Line: LT: Duane Brown, LG: Mike Iupati/Ethan Pocic/Chance Warmack/Damien Lewis, C: B.J. Finney/Joey Hunt, RG: Larry Warmack, RT: Cedric Ogbuehi/Brandon Shell/Jamarco Jones
Chicago Bears: 1 year $8 Million
The Chicago Bears are not a very attractive destination for a player such as Warford’s caliber, but after many teams addressed their interior offensive line needs in free agency he might have to settle here. Former All-Pro Kyle Long started at right guard for the Chicago Bears for seven years before retiring due to injury problems. This left a major void for the Bears to fill and not many options to fill it. Currently, the Bears have Germain Ifedi who is moving inside to guard because of his struggles at right tackle, even then he is not signed to the type of contract that requires him to be a starter. The Bears could start Warford and make Ifedi their swing tackle. Chicago does not have a lot of salary cap still available, but has enough to at least give Warford an offer.
Projected Offensive Line: LT: Charles Leno, LG: James Daniels, C: Cody Whitehair, RG: Larry Warford, RT: Bobbie Massie
Baltimore Ravens: 1 year $7 Million
The Baltimore Ravens do not have any business signing Larry Warford with the salary cap they have remaining. However, Warford will take Baltimore’s offer into account because they give him a great chance to compete for a Super Bowl next season. The Ravens’ (seemingly only) weakness is the interior of their offensive line, more specifically at right guard. Future Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda held down the position for 13 seasons. Warford is a slight bump under what Yanda was last season, but is the perfect player to attempt to fill that void. This contract might be for one year, but next offseason Warford could return on a larger long term deal with Baltimore.
Projected Offensive Line: LT: Ronnie Stanley, LG: Tyre Philips*/Bradley Bozeman/Ben Powers, C: Ben Skura, RG: Larry Warford, RT: Orlando Brown