Saints sign starting guard Cesar Ruiz to a 4-year contract extension

FILE - New Orleans Saints center Cesar Ruiz reacts after an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans Aug. 27, 2023, in New Orleans. The Saints have signed starting guard and 2020 first-round draft choice Ruiz to a four-year extension. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have signed starting right guard and 2020 first-round draft choice Cesar Ruiz to a four-year extension.

Ruiz was entering the final year of his rookie deal after New Orleans this past offseason declined to pick up the fifth-year option for the former Michigan center.

The deal, announced by Saints general manager Mickey Loomis on Saturday, is reportedly worth about $44 million and runs through the 2027 season.

Ruiz was drafted 24th overall in 2020 and has played in 46 regular-season games with 40 starts. Most have been at right guard but he also had some at center.

The Saints open the 2023 regular season at home against Tennessee on Sunday.