How will the Rams resolve the Joe Noteboom stalemate?

Los Angeles Rams Joe Noteboom
Los Angeles Rams Joe Noteboom / Mike Lawrence/GettyImages

When the LA Rams extended offensive tackle Joe Noteboom at the end of the 2021 season, the belief was that he would earn and remain as the team's starting left tackle for the next three seasons. It was the best option for the front office, as veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth had already announced his retirement. Noteboom had filled in for Whitworth in the past and had been effective at doing so.

But when 2022 arrived, the wheels fell off the wagon.

Between injuries, demotion to a more comfortable swing-tackle role, and a need to create cap space in 2023, the Rams front office restructured Noteboom's contract to put him in line for a $20 million cap hit to the team's salary cap this year. The problem is, that is an overpay for the role Noteboom currently holds for the team, and needs to be corrected.

And LA Rams GM Les Snead has already been meeting with Noteboom's agent in finding what that correction will ultimately look like:

But the thing is, without any recent updates, it's impossible to know where or how the team stands with Noteboom. With the NFL's 'legal tampering' period before the 2024 NFL Free Agency market just hours away, you have to wonder what will the team do?

After all, if the Rams were cutting Noteboom to clear space, wouldn't they do so before free agency begins in order to afford Noteboom and his agent plenty of opportunity to secure a new contract? Or are negotiations not to a point where the team has any indication where the matter will end up, and simply cannot determine if a new, more-affordable contract is in the works?

Or is it simply prudent to take their time on the matter. If the team can designate a trade or cut as post-June 1, the team can upgrade savings from $5 million in 2024 to $15 million. $10 million in additional cap savings in 2024 is enough to pay the entire 2024 NFL Draft class.

It may simply be that there is no update because there is no update to share. The team does want Noteboom to return, simply not as a current year price of $20 million to their cap. And with significantly greater savings to the team available after June 1, 2024, there is no great rush to do anything at the moment.

Still, one way or another, it's nice to know whether Noteboom will be on the roster for the 2024 NFL season or not. His presence or absence can be a significant factor in how the team strategizes their offseason plans.