LA Rams FA OT Joseph Noteboom: re-sign, sign, draft, or promote?
The LA Rams have a number of potential free agents facing them as their contracts expire, but perhaps no single player will foster more debate than what to do with offensive tackle Joseph Noteboom. Noteboom is a player who has played in 47 games for the LA Rams over his four-season NFL career.
Over those four seasons, he has started just 17 games. Before injury in 2019, he played and started all six games at left guard. The following season, he resumed his starting role at left guard for two games before falling to injury. When he returned, he had lost his job to teammate David Edwards. He remained on the bench until starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth fell to injury in Week 9 against the Seattle Seahawks. The starting role then fell to Noteboom, who played well enough for the remaining seven games to help the LA Rams earn a playoff berth as the sixth seed.
Noteboom returned in 2021, the last year of his rookie contract, with no realistic chance of winning a starting role. But he was an experienced starter at both the left guard and the left tackle position, and he played well enough in both roles to be one of the team’s primary backups on the offensive line.
Durability, dependability, and versatility
The LA Rams would need to tap that experience twice more during the 2021 NFL season. In Week 8, Noteboom would start in place of Whitworth again. This time it was to give Whitworth a chance to heal a banged-up knee. The rest worked, and Whitworth returned to duty the following week. Noteboom was clearly up to the challenge as the Rams dominated the Houston Texans by a score of 38-0 until the Rams pulled their starters.
In Week 14, Noteboom would be promoted to a starting role once again. This time, in place of right tackle Rob Havenstein, who had tested positive for COVID-19. Once more, Noteboom played well.
The LA Rams would need to count on Noteboom once more, this time in the Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs after Andrew Whitworth was shaken up after his ankle and knee were rolled up on by a Cardinals defender. Noteboom played the final 33 snaps of the game seamlessly.
So the decision point for Joseph Noteboom is rather complex. Can the LA Rams view Noteboom as a future starter at offensive tackle for the team? If so, can the team afford to extend him? Will other teams bid heavily to sign Noteboom away from the Rams? What is the market price of a young offensive lineman who has proven the ability to start at practically any position on the offensive line?