Bleacher Report controversial article throws shade on the wrong Rams player

Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

It's at this time of year that several websites queue up their NFL rankings and listings articles. After all, there is a natural eddy in the current stream of NFL news: Free agency shopping has subsided, and the flurry of the upcoming NFL Draft is still days away. So Bleacher Report's Brad Gagnon is not surprising folks with an article that attempts to name the Most Overpaid Player on each NFL team following peak free agency.

But he picks the wrong player for the wrong reasons.

What do I mean? Well, there is a tendency by the casual contributors to pile on a player who may not have panned out. When the team signed Joe Noteboom to start in place of the now-retired Andrew Whitworth, the team believed him to be the best option available. While that did not exactly pan out due to Noteboom's durability issues, Noteboom does serve in a vital swing tackle role that has helped the team stay on course despite several minor injuries to offensive linemen in 2023.

"Los Angeles Rams: OT Joe Noteboom

The 28-year-old has been a disappointment even when healthy since signing a three-year, $40 million deal two years ago. There's a chance he doesn't even end up on the 2024 roster."

B/R Brad Gagnon

Even if you remove Noteboom's first four starts at right guard, he continued to play a vital role by appearing in five other games in 2023 and starting four of those games. In four games and three starts, he took over for the injured starting RT Rob Havenstein. In one week, he took over for the injured left tackle Alaric Jackson. That is a pretty vital role for the team.

There are other speculative players on the LA Rams roster that could have been considered overpays. DB Tre'Davious White has agreed to a one-year deal for $8.5 million with the team, despite coming back from two serious injuries. TE Colby Parkinson signed a three-year $22.5 million deal with the team that rivals the contract of starting TE Tyler Higbee, and hasn't caught a single pass for the team yet. And if the team's history of TE usage holds, he won't see a lot of targets in 2024 either.

If they appeared on the list, there is enough uncertainty to make that case. But hasn't Joe Noteboom proven that he has value to this team? Hasn't he proven to make the best of a tough situation? Enough with the Noteboom bashing.

Noteboom took a pay cut to stay with the Rams, earning 50 percent of the cash he was paid last season ($6.75 million). While that is more than starting OT Alaric Jackson is earning in 2024, it's much better than the original three-year $40 million contract that is cited in the BR article.

Not every player on the LA Rams roster must achieve All-Pro status to be a positive contributor. I like the fact that Joe Noteboom is back for 2024. His versatility alone is enough reason to keep him around. He may not be a starting offensive lineman, but he is a solid plug-and-play backup who can fill in for four offensive line positions.

Yes, he didn't pan out in 2022, and the entire NFL realizes that. But enough with the piling on. Joe Noteboom fills a vital niche role for the team now, and will continue to do so throughout 2024.

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