At minimal cost, LA Rams re-signing TE Johnny Mundt
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams love the play of tight end Johnny Mundt. They simply have no price to pay top dollar for what he does for the team. So once more, the Rams have snuck Johnny Mundt back to the roster to play for one more year at or close to the NFL minimum. Now, what is so special about that?
If you have ever tried to open a can without a can opener, you quickly realize just how valuable a can opener can be to you. Now, you won’t hand over your paycheck to get one, but you will be sure that you have one handy in the kitchen. Not all cans have converted to the pop-top variety. Every kitchen needs that gadget. If you don’t have it, there are no substitutes.
Tight end Johhny Mundt is that kitchen can-opener for the LA Rams offense. He is that utility player who does so many little things for the team. And if he is not on the roster, those little things simply do not get done. It’s as simple as that.
What can he do? Plenty
Tight end yes, but you won’t see him show up large in passing stats. In 2020, he caught four of four passes for 53 yards. In four seasons with the Rams, he has not scored a touchdown. In fact, he has not even carried the ball once. He only recorded one start in 2020, a game against the Chicago Bears where he caught three of three passes thrown his way for 48 yards. So what does he do for the Rams?
Well in December 2019, he was the ‘other guy’ who lined up at the tight end while teammate Tyler Higbee scorched five opponents for a total of 522 yards through the air. Now, Higbee will once more have the chance to play 12 packages with blocking tight end, Johnny Mundt.
Mundt is also very comfortable in setting up in the Rams backfield, either as an H-back or up-back, and lead blocking for the runner. His presence will be invaluable for running back Cam Akers who is expected to handle the work next season. Akers runs best with potent blockers leading his way. Mundt is a potent lead-blocker.
Mundt is the Rams offensive can opener
In a pinch, he can indeed be a worthy target in the passing game. But his optimal use, and the role that the LA Rams have in store for him, will be to protect the ball hander. On running plays, that means lead blocking. Without Malcolm Brown, the business may pick up for Mundt in 2021.
On passing plays, it means chip blocking on either side to help the Rams tackles Andrew Whitworth or Rob Havenstein, to keep new quarterback Matthew Stafford safe in the pocket. If the pressure does close in on Stafford, he needs to simply turn to the quarterback and he becomes an immediate safety outlet.
Johnny Mundt is many things, but he is not replaceable. Not by one player, at least. He is the jack of all trades for the Rams, a hybrid fullback/tight end who simply goes where he is shown and does whatever is asked of him. Championship teams are built upon players like Johnny Mundt, players who do what they must and do it very well.
Johnny Mundt won’t help your fantasy football team win. But, by returning, he may help the LA Rams win Super Bowl LVI.