Do or Bye, there is no try season for these 9 LA Rams veterans

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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LA Rams News Rams roster Joe Noteboom
Joe Noteboom Los Angeles Rams / John McCoy/GettyImages

Anchors away

When the LA Rams veteran offensive left tackle Andrew Whitworth retired, the hope was that long-time swing tackle Joe Noteboom's time to step up and get paid had finally arrived. Well, after his rookie contract expired, Noteboom did get paid. But as far as the 'stepping up,' to become a solid starter on the offensive line at left tackle? That's another matter altogether.

The matter is very complex in the 2023 NFL season, but the crux of the challenge is that the LA Rams front office is attempting to run their season on the thinnest of financial margins. In a normal season, the Rams (or any NFL team for that matter) would seek a surplus of salary cap funds from $5-10 million. Right now, the Rams are running at a surplus of $4 million, and the team needs to sign their drafted rookies.

Durability concerns hang in the balance

If the team starts Joe Noteboom at left tackle, and indications are that is the likely scenario, the team runs a 50/50 chance of needing to promote a player from the practice squad or sign a free agent to help the team fill the depth chart in case of injury. While that could play havoc with the LA Rams coffers, it also creates a more foreboding situation for Noteboom. If he is unable to play this season at the level of a starting offensive lineman, the LA Rams will likely have no choice but to demote him and/or move on from him on the roster.

Joe Noteboom competed effectively for the LA Rams for the second half of the 2020 NFL season as the interim starting left tackle when Andrew Whitworth suffered an MCL injury. So it was not as though the LA Rams were walking into the 2022 NFL season completely blind to what may happen. But much like his 2019 debut as a starter, the 2022 season was fraught with injuries, which forced the Rams to burn through their offensive linemen very quickly.

Noteboom needs to prove that he can handle a 17-game NFL season. Not just for the LA Rams front office, but to the entire NFL. So far, has not been able to do so in either 2019 or in 2022. I hate to borrow a baseball term, but he is down on the count 0-2. One more strike and you have to think that he is out of there.