I: No kidding, no free agent center either?
Okay, this is not a series of allegations indicting the LA Rams front office nor the personnel department. The team aggregates and distills oceans of data into cupfuls of decision sheets that allow executives and coaches to grasp a solid summary of each potential player up for consideration. But for the life of me, I am not sure what would dissuade the Rams from signing free agent OC Austin Reiter.
It seems like a perfect swap without involving a trade. Reiter is a former starting offensive center for the Kansas City Chiefs, has played in the past two Super Bowls, and earned a ring for defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. He’s played in 42 NFL games over the past five seasons and started 32. He is currently at the peak of his NFL career, and as such is likely seeking a significant pay raise after playing on a rookie deal.
The 6-foot-3 300-pound veteran offensive center signed on with the Washington Football team in 2015 and was on their practice squad until September 2016. His career overlapped that of then offensive coordinator Sean McVay with the Washington Football team. The Cleveland Browns signed him to their 53-man roster in 2016. He was with the Cleveland Browns until 2018 when he signed on with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Reiter remains a free agent to this day, and perhaps that is due to his salary and contract demands. But you would have to think that at some point, the LA Rams could have dangled an inexpensive one-year deal in front of him to play for the Rams and springboard off a solid 2021 season to land a multi-year deal in 2022? The price for veteran offensive centers for 2021 was depressed because of the availability of so many good rookie offensive centers in the 2021 NFL Draft.
You know, the draft where the LA Rams didn’t select a single offensive lineman.
In the end, we are not blind to the occasional gaffes made in our opinion by the LA Rams’ organization. That’s life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It’s the path that every high-stakes gambler knows, and the Rams organization definitely gambles.
But they succeed too, perhaps more than can be explained by the sum of a passionate head coach, a handful of elite NFL players, and the youngest roster in the league. It is something that at times defies logic but has proven to be the consistent case since 2017. And that’s the beauty of this LA Rams roster, the team, and the organization. It’s perfectly imperfect. The team that is committed to one another and not to individual statistics has created and sustained success because the team is greater than the sum of its parts.
This started as a deep dive into off-season moves that qualify as worse than extending outside linebacker Leonard Floyd over safety John Johnson III. Had the article cited the best offseason move by the Rams front office, I’m quite certain that article would be three times longer citing 15 better offseason moves.