The New Orleans Saints have agreed to terms with guard Jahri Evanson a seven-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. Widely regarded as one of the finest young linemen in the game, Evans has started all 64 games at right guard since being drafted in the fourth round in 2006 and was a unanimous choice as a first-team All-Pro in 2009.
"Jahri is an excellent young player who has been part of the nucleus of this team since arriving in 2006 and we're excited to know that he's going to be with us for many years to come," Loomis said. "We liked what we saw from him as a small-school prospect in the draft four years ago, and I can say that we've loved what we've seen from him on the NFL level as well."
Evans, 26, was selected by the Saints 108th overall in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Bloomsburg University and won a starting job in his first training camp. One of the stalwarts on the line for the top-ranked offense in three of the four seasons he has been in New Orleans, Evans has helped protect Drew Brees with excellent pass-blocking – the team having allowed just 67 sacks on more than 2,400 pass attempts – and proved to be a powerful run-blocker, helping pave the way for the sixth-ranked rushing attack in the league in 2009. The 2009 Pro Bowl selection and All-Pro was also named to numerous All-Rookie squads in 2006 and has been in the starting lineup for five postseason contests.
"Jahri is an intelligent and physically gifted player that has helped our team achieve a great deal since he's been here," said Head Coach Sean Payton. "He's a leader on the field and in the locker room and a player we all know we can count on performing to the high standard he has set."
Evans (6-4, 318 pounds) had been a restricted free agent each of the past two seasons. In addition to his stellar work on the field, he has also shown a commitment to his community since coming to New Orleans. He and his fellow linemen started a community program called "OL 4 NO", which in the past two years has run a free football camp for the youth of New Orleans and purchased and distributed bicycles to underprivileged children.