Years of ‘be ready’ has LA Rams OL Joseph Noteboom all set to start

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

When the LA Rams started offensive lineman Joseph Noteboom at left guard in 2019, he was filling a spot vacated by Pro Bowl IOL Rodger Saffold, a spot that was fraught with the perils of comparison. It was not his natural position, and he was stepping up to help the team after losing both Saffold and John Sullivan from their 2018 Super Bowl roster.

Curiously, Noteboom finds himself once more stepping up to fill a starter’s role on the offensive line after a Super Bowl season. But things are a bit different this time around. For starters, the LA Rams won Super Bowl LVI. For another thing, Joseph Noteboom is stepping up to fill his natural position at the left offensive tackle position.

And finally, but certainly not the least of the considerations, he has played at the left tackle position in both relief of and in spot-starting roles and has played very well in those situations. His Pro Football Focus grade for 2021 in a spot-starting role was a very impressive 76.0. That is a significant improvement over his 2020 relief starting grade of 60.3. Even better, you could see his better play on the football field.

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Pricing strategy reveals Rams plans

I was very curious as to how the team would handle their treatment of Noteboom’s free agency. The team could have taken the view that he was a backup offensive lineman, and allowed him to test the free agency market. If that was their position, a price tag of about $4-5 million per year would have been their offer.

On the other hand, the team could have viewed Noteboom as a bridge to a new starter on the offensive line, and priced him in the $7-8 million range indicating as such. If that were the case, drafting an offensive lineman or two in the 2022 NFL Draft would have been imperative.

Instead, the Rams chose the most expensive but perhaps the best option.  By giving Noteboom a three-year extension that exceeds $40 million, the team has dubbed Noteboom as the starting left tackle for 2022 and beyond. At the same time, the Rams have gotten very young at the offensive line unit instantly.

Heading into the 2022 NFL Free Agency market, the LA Rams had open question marks for five of their key offensive linemen. The Rams have re-signed three, but perhaps the greatest move so far this offseason was bringing back their protege blindside protector.

For several years, the organization has urged OL Joseph Noteboom to ‘be ready.’ Well, he’s ready to take over at left tackle, and you can expect him to play very well.

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