Now that the Rams have gone Howard Ratner level ALL IN with Matthew Stafford, the next task is building around him in order to protect their investment. The Rams’ offensive line is solid but like everything else can stand to be better. Incumbent center Austin Blythe is set to hit the market and while the Rams are notoriously not flush with cash, there’s enough change in the jar to find a replacement level center if not an outright upgrade. There are a number of center options out there both young and old that would be a great fit for, Aaron Kromer, Matthew Stafford, and the offensive line unit.
1. Alex Mack
The not-so-secret world of Alex Mack turns 36 this year and while that might be a red flag, it could actually work to the Rams’ benefit. Mack isn’t so far removed from being considered the best center in the league and is set to be a cap casualty in Atlanta. It isn’t so farfetched that he decides to take a one-year deal in LA in order to chase a ring after a long career making top dollar. He’d be a better version of what John Sullivan gave the Rams in 2017 and ’18 which is GREAT news for Stafford.
2. David Andrews
If the Rams want to invest in a younger center that hasn’t quite hit peak value, David Andrews would be a great option. He’s a highly graded pass blocker and while his run blocking dipped a bit in 2020 it isn’t enough of a trend for it to be alarming. He’s versatile and at 28 still has room to grow. What dented his value were various injuries plus a blood clot scare in 2019 but has since received a clean bill of health. He’d be an absolute bargain if he doesn’t resign with the Pats, and would be a great long-term solution.
3. Austin Reiter
The Rams could pivot from one Austin to another. Reiter came on late for the Chiefs but became a reliable starter on a championship team. Perhaps his value took a bit of a dip because of the perception of the line’s overall ineffectiveness in this past Super Bowl. That’s not totally fair but it could work to the Rams’ benefit.
Reiter is an adept pass blocker (allowed only seven pressures) and is no slouch in the run game either. Furthermore, in 2020 he proved his dedication to discipline not getting flagged for a penalty. Like Andrews, he’s a young, versatile center that wouldn’t be a one-year stopgap but a long-term option for the future.
4. Austin Blythe
There are only a handful of teams with money and they’ll all pursue Corey Linsley and then work their way down the line. Maurkice Pouncey and Mike Pouncey have retired, and with the Rams not exactly cap liquid at the moment, they could decide to resign Blythe. He’s a solid center on a line that performed quite well in 2020. He also wouldn’t break the bank and with Stafford at QB, he’d be better because of his ability to climb the ladder in the pocket as well as a quicker release. It wouldn’t be the sexiest move but keeping Blythe isn’t the worst possible fate for this line by any stretch.
5. Austin Corbett/Draft
If Blythe leaves and the Rams strike out on the rest of their options, they could simply stopgap it by having Austin Corbett play center and find a more long-term option in the draft. It’s not the most ideal of scenarios but it isn’t a desperation move either. The Rams have been smart at acquiring linemen that can play all positions and it’s for situations like this.