Saints OL James Hurst retires after 10 seasons in the NFL

The New Orleans Saints now have their first retirement of the offseason, with offensive lineman James Hurst announcing he will be ending his career in the NFL early Wednesday afternoon.

In a lengthy Instagram post, Hurst thanked many people for their support throughout his career.  He ended the thread with a thank-you to the sport itself, saying that it gave him the opportunity to compete with and against some of the best athletes on the planet, and allowed him to accomplish a childhood dream.

Hurst spent 10 seasons in the NFL, six of which were spent with the Baltimore Ravens (who signed him as an undrafted rookie out of North Carolina), and the last four with the Saints. He signed with New Orleans back in 2020, playing in 12 games before receiving a three-year extension the next offseason. He did also take a pay cut earlier this offseason, reducing his salary cap hit down to $2.97 million and making his retirement easier for the Saints’ accountants to manage.

This retirement leaves the Saints in a difficult situation on the eve of the 2024 draft, as they were already pretty weak along the offensive line. Now with the news of Ryan Ramczyk dealing with a potential long-term injury recovery with his knee surgery, the Saints are going to need to focus heavily on restocking the position in the NFL draft. With Trevor Penning’s development not going as planned seemingly, Erik McCoy and Cesar Ruiz remain as the two starters with three gaps alongside them at this point. We will see how the Saints handle this, but as of right now it is certainly a tough spot to be in.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire