Bryant McKinnie is no spring chicken. The 33-year-old isn’t quite the left tackle he used to be, but might have enough left in the tank if his next team can find a way to motivate him.
Could that team be the New Orleans Saints? Maybe…
There’s no denying that the Saints need a new left tackle heading into 2013. They lost overrated blindside blocker Jermon Bushrod to the Chicago Bears via free agency and are left with oft-injured Charles Brown as the next in line at the position. That can’t be a comforting feeling.
While McKinnie failed to start any regular season games in 2012, he did take over as the starter on the blindside during the playoffs as quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens rode a wave of momentum to the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory. McKinnie’s blocking was a key component to Flacco’s skyrocket up the rankings and eventual big-money extension, but the four-game stretch has fluke written all over it.
Good chances are that his days of being an effective starter are in the rearview mirror. Even with Brown as the other option, the Saints might be better off taking the risk with the former second-rounder than leaving the aging veteran to protect Drew Brees, the franchise’s most valuable asset.
I don’t doubt that Sean Payton and Co. could get the most out of McKinnie, who was once considered a franchise left tackle. I’m just having trouble seeing him holding down the blindside at his age and level of talent deterioration.
Bringing him in as a contingency plan for Brown could be a good option, but rolling the dice with McKinnie protecting Brees from the get-go seems ill-advised. Then again, it’s not my decision to make.