New Los Angeles Rams Free Agency Grade Curbs Excitement Over Offensive Line Addition

Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Now that the first wave of free agency has passed, media outlets are releasing their grades on how they feel the Los Angeles Rams fared in their maneuvering. Pro Football Focus released their grades and they were particularly critical of the Rams biggest free agency move, signing left guard Jonah Jackson.

Los Angeles Rams Lukewarm Grading on Jonah Jackson Addition

  • 2023 PFF Grade61.0 (34th/79)
  • 2023 PFF WAR0.1 (37th)
  • Fit/need grade: C
  • Value grade: C-
  • Contract: Three years, $51 million ($17 million per year), $34 million total guaranteed
  • PFF projected contract: Four years, $50 million ($12.5 million per year), $30 million total guaranteed

High Praise For Los Angeles Rams’ Major Free Agent Acquisition, Receive Top Marks

NFL: Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs
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While PFF wasn’t entirely sold on the deal, others gave the move high marks. PFF wasn’t entirely down on the move remarking the Rams “should have an absolutely bruising run game between the tackles.”

On the negative side they wrote of Jackson, “We were underwhelmed by Jackson’s pass-blocking ability in his 2023 film.” They also didn’t think that adding a left guard made sense considering the high level of play from rookie second-rounder, Steve Avila and having just spent a lot to re-sign Kevin Dotson, the investment to the interior of the line was excessive, especially considering the Rams “still have question marks at both tackle spots.”

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORKCredit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

In Defense of the Move

The Rams started making the move to be a more physical team along the line of scrimmage last season and it paid off. Kyren Williams was one of the most impactful backs last season, in large part due to a (nearly) league-leading 3.0 yards before contact. The offense was unlocked and the Rams went on a tear through the back half of their schedule. This is another move in that direction. Making such sweeping changes is often more expensive, but pays off in the long run.

They also needed to add to the interior o-line. Brian Allen was cut because of his large cap hit and no longer fit the new scheme. Coleman Shelton voided the last year of his contract choosing to test the open market. Steve Avila will move to center, a position he played for two seasons at TCU.

While PFF may not see the value in Jackson, the Rams have a good track record of spotting talent at offensive linemen. They brought in Andrew Whitworth recognizing the gas he still had in the tank. They drafted Avila and Rob Havenstien. They traded two day-three picks to add Kevin Dotson, who was named the top guard in free agency by PFF, themselves. Perhaps the Rams have an early read on Jackson as well.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs
Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports