- Associated Press - Monday, March 17, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The New Orleans Saints and right tackle Zach Strief have agreed to a five-year contract extension.

Strief, who has spent his entire eight-year career in New Orleans and became a starter in 2011, had entered free agency last week but had expressed an interest in working out a deal to remain with the Saints if the club could field a competitive offer.

Financial terms of the deal, announced Monday by general manager Mickey Loomis, have not been disclosed.

Last season, Strief started 15 regular season games and both playoff games, giving him 45 regular season starts and four playoff starts in his career. He also was a regular reserve on playoff teams in 2009 and 2010.

“We are excited to announce that Zach will stay with us into the future,” Loomis said. “Not only has he done an excellent job at the right tackle position, but he has served us well as an offensive team captain for the past two seasons and has always been a great asset in the community since he first came here in 2006.”

Strief, who played in college at Northwestern, was one of two seventh-round picks by the Saints in the 2006 NFL draft, the other being receiver Marques Colston.

Strief has appeared in 109 career regular season games and has been one of the veteran leaders of one of the top ranking offenses in the NFL the past three seasons, duing which the club has ranked first, second and fourth in net yards per game.

He has also taken part in numerous community service endeavors, highlighted by his work with a restaurant which trains at-risk New Orleans youth the skills needed to work at various positions in the city’s renowned restaurant industry.