Since there are a few more weeks of dead time in the NFL off-season let’s try a fun experiment. Let’s wave a magic wand and do a player swap on the Rams’ offense. Now, this wand only has so much magic so having Jared Goff trade places with Patrick Mahomes isn’t happening. The wand is capable of doing a much more reasonable player swap without the worry of cap space or picks so let’s try it with the tackle position.
Rams Offensive Player Swap: Do You Like This Trade?
Despite the fact that Bill O’Brien would trade a Danish for a doorstop this would never happen in real life because Tunsil just received a huge three-year extension worth $50 million guaranteed as he’s been tasked with being Deshaun Watson‘s only real form of protection.
In 2018, the Rams gave Havenstein a four-year $32 million extension. In year one, on that deal, he failed to live up to be the heir to the Andrew Whitworth throne. Perhaps this was a consequence of Rodger Saffold no longer being alongside him after he got PAID by Tennessee, or it was just a down year, but never the less, Havenstein STRUGGLED. The Rams line actually improved after he went down towards the end of the year. However, prior to last year, the second-round pick out of Wisconsin had emerged as one of the best young tackles in the league.
Laremy Tunsil was traded towards the end of camp from a rebuilding Miami team to Houston who view themselves as a contender. It took a little time but he acclimated to his new surroundings and became the only real force on that line. Not bad for a guy who fell in the draft following video of him smoking out of a gas mask. This controversy was idiotic in real-time (former New Jersey Governor and cable news seat warmer Chris Christie wanted him arrested on the spot). Tunsil would’ve likely been a top-five pick had it not been for that but that was Miami’s gain. They traded him because they didn’t want to extend him much less anyone while doing a complete HGTV style tear down.
The reason a player swap between these two would be fun is that it would present them both with a unique opportunity. For Havenstein, he could help the Texans clear cap space as they try to offer Watson enough money to forget he plays for coach/GM Bill O’Brien. That free cap space would allow them to sign another quality lineman so Watson doesn’t get flattened like Judge Doom. He’d also get a chance to start over after becoming the ire of Rams’ fans (though far from the only one) last season.
Tunsil would get an awesome opportunity of his own. He’d be coached by one of the best line coaches in the league in Aaron Kromer and have the tutelage of Andrew Whitworth. He’s already a top-three tackle in the league but just having better coaches and vets would make him even better. He’d also get to be in a place where he wouldn’t have to be the lone protector as the Rams have another quality young tackle in Bobby Evans. The interior would still need work but having the tackle spots solidified post-Whitworth would allow for more stabilization.
That’s welcome news for Goff and the running game which was hindered by insufficient protection. Tunsil would also have a coach in Sean McVay that can actually organize an offense and put him in a position to succeed. The Rams would vault from fringe contender to full-on Super Bowl contender if the line could actually be what it was if not better than in 2017 and 2018.
This player swap, while fun, won’t happen and unfortunately for the Rams they have to hope Havenstein bounces back and that the young guys figure it out enough to where they have a line they can go to war with every week.
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