LA Rams get their man, bringing back left tackle Andrew Whitworth

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams get their top priority free-agent signing today with the news that the team has re-signed OT Andrew Whitworth to a new three-year deal

The LA Rams offensive line is ready for the 2020 NFL season now. Today, March 18, 2020, the LA Rams are bringing back their veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth for a new three-year deal with undisclosed contract terms.  Immediately upon the release of the news, quarterback Jared Goff reacted with an “answered prayers” emoji on social media.

Initial reports are that Whitworth will earn upwards of $10 million per year with this new deal. Even still, this has to go down as a significant victory for the Rams front office after entering the 2020 NFL Free Agency market with no blindside left tackle and not a great deal of money to shop for one.

On paper, the LA Rams have simply gotten the band-back-together as far as the offensive line roster from 2019. But don’t be one of those who see no chance of improvement from a poor offensive line showing going into the 2020 season.  The Rams final starting five offensive linemen in 2019 boasted three players who were not starters at the season’s inception. One of those players was not even on the team.

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So yes, news of re-signing Whitworth is a big deal.

Unfortunately, the track record of the Rams’ front office of guaranteeing money and overpaying players seems to remain intact.  Whitworth’s deal is not surprisingly the richest non-QB contract for a 35+ player in NFL history. So there goes the austerity plan. Hopefully, the details of this deal make it essentially a one-year deal for $12.5 million. But do not think that I am disappointed in the least. This was the litmus test of the LA Rams offseason, and the team has passed with flying colors.

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The Rams will have a much deeper pool of players with starting experience in 2020.  Both Coleman Shelton and Austin Corbett will be able to practice and train with the Rams leading into the season.

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The LA Rams typically carry eight offensive linemen on the active 53-man roster for the regular season.  With the return of both Blythe and Whitworth, the math projects a far greater number than eight with game time experience. The Rams offensive line now boasts David Edwards, Bobby Evans, Rob Havenstein, Austin Corbett, Joseph Noteboom, Brian Allen, Chandler Brewer, Nate Trewyn, Jamil Demby, Austin Blythe, Coleman Shelton, Jeremiah Kolone, and of course Andrew Whitworth. Thirteen players are on the roster before the team enters the 2020 NFL Draft.

That does not spell much action for the team on the offensive side of the ball.  Of course, if the team parts ways with running back Todd Gurley, or if the team can find a willing trade partner for Gurley or WR Brandin Cooks, that could trigger new needs in the draft.

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The Rams may take a chance on an offensive tackle to develop as Whitworth’s understudy if any fall to day three of the NFL Draft. But even that is not a certainty.  The Rams will more likely focus the entirety of the 2020 NFL Draft on the defense.