Top 5 Free Agent Offensive Linemen Available For Rams
Improving the offensive line is the Rams top priority this offseason. Doing so won’t be easy. Going after a splashy name will be nearly impossible given the teams tight budget and lack of a first round draft pick, but solving this Rubix Cube will be the only way the Rams offense can return to Super Bowl form. In order to do so, they will have to pursue these top 5 free agent offensive linemen (based on affordability as well) in the upcoming free agent market.
Andrew Whitworth – Left Tackle
In preliminary talks, both Whitworth and the Rams have been positive that he will return to the Rams. This would allow the Rams to double dip with Whitworth. Dip one: Keep the most experienced member of a detrimentally green offensive line. Dip two: In order to keep him, Whitworth will have to take a pay cut. Which of course would help with that pesky cap thingy everyone keeps harping on about.
Despite his age, Whitworth remains one of the best linemen in the league. He allowed only one sack last year. In addition to that, he played 99% of all offensive snaps last year and has only missed one game in his time in Los Angeles.
Last season, the Rams line was a threadbare patchwork of players. Austin Blythe was the only other linemen who played more than 62% of offensive snaps.
Graham Glasgow – Center/Guard
The Lions have plenty of cap space (projected $46.3 million) and have shown no urgency in locking up their starting center. Perhaps Matt Stafford blames Glasgow for his broken back? That is the only reason a team wouldn’t want a center like Glasgow. He has started in each of his four seasons, missing only two games.
Last season, he allowed zero sacks and only two the year before. In his entire career, he has committed 16 penalties. Just as a reference, Andrew Whitworth committed 14 penalties just last season.
The Rams offensive interior line was atrocious last season. Glasgow would be an instant boost. Although he has played at center, he can competently switch to either left or right guard. This versatility would give the Rams time to figure out who would best fit those roles.
Glasgow is projected to make between $7-$8 million per season in his next contract. He would be a huge upgrade in the middle without breaking the bank.
Ben Garland – Center/Guard
Garland is 31 and has made 15 total starts in his six-season career. That being said, two of those starts just happen to be on the 49ers’ path to the Super Bowl. He also started Super Bowl LIV, by the way. Of course, he did play in those games because the starting center Weston Richburg was unable to play due to an injury suffered in week 14, but, unlike so many backup centers, Garland rose to the occasion. Now, it’s not like he earned a gold jacket, but he did show he had some starting potential and he showed it against some elite opponents.
The good news for the Rams is he will be cheap and the 49ers won’t likely make an effort to resign him. They are also looking at minimal cap space and expect Richburg to step back into the starting role. Similarly to Glasgow, Garland has experience as a guard and a center, which will improve the aforementioned interior atrociousness. The Rams should be looking to replace both Austin Corbett and Austin Blythe.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai– Tackle
There is one caveat to signing Vaitai; the Rams have to eat sand to trade Rob Havenstein away. After Havenstein’s regression, his contract looks like a terrible decision, so he isn’t a very tradable, but teams are always looking for blindside tackles.
Of course, Vaitai is set to make a good deal more than his rookie deal, but not Havenstein money. The Rams may lose out to a team with more cap space, but obviously overpaying for Vaitai would put the Rams right back in the same position.
Joe Thuney – Guard
If the last required a caveat, this requires some bold moves and a stiff drink. Thuney is projected to be the top-paid offensive lineman in football. Really the only thing the Rams (and the rest of the league in general) has is that New England can’t afford to keep him.
This would require the Rams to trade away some big-name assets for little in return, just to make room for one player. On the surface, it sounds dumb, but looking at the Rams contracts there is some dead weight that still has some trade-bait cache. The two big contracts to consider would be that of Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks.
The reason the Rams would ever consider such drastic moves is that Thuney could, single-handedly, put them right back in the Super Bowl contenders conversation. He’s consistent. In his four year career, he has started every single game. Not only has he started every game, but he has also played almost every snap. Never missing more than 10 snaps in a season.
He has allowed seven sacks in his four seasons and only one in the last two years. He has two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots.
If he is consistent in the regular season he is perfect in the playoffs. He has played 10 playoff games, 3 of which were Super Bowls, where he has committed no penalties and given up zero sacks.
If the Rams make the commitment, they would be bringing on a 27-year-old with more experience than most of the Rams line last year, combined. Joe Thuney could solve much of what ailed the Rams last season, but at what cost?