LA Rams' early FA moves prove the team will run the ball down opponents' throats

Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead
Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

When the LA Rams extended IOL Kevin Dotson for three years at a cost of $48 million, that seemed to be a rather significant investment by this team into an interior offensive linemen. After all, this is the same GM and HC pair that allowed Pro Bowl guard Rodget Saffold to sign with the Tennessee Titans after Super Bowl LIII. And it's the same pair that allowed Austin Corbett to sign with the Carolina Panthers after Super Bowl LVI.

And yet, the team not only broke with tradition and extended Dotson, but did so at the high-end of expectation, committing and average of $16 million per year to the veteran. So what did the Rams know that few others did? Well, the reality of the matter is that interior offensive linemen are the new 'hot' position on NFL team rosters. One of the first free agents mentioned today was the Philadelphia Eagles extension of offensive guard Landon Dickerson, at a record setting price of $21 million per year.

That makes Dotson's extension look like a steal, doesn't it? But the front office was not done with the offensive line, as the team jumped out early into the legal tampering period to come to an agreement with former Detroit Lions interior offensive lineman Jonah Jackson.

Jackson was a former Pro Bowler in 2021 and is considered the Lions' most valuable free agent this offseason. While a formidable run blocker who loves to maul defenders, he is superb at pass blocking, allowing just two quarterback sacks since 2022. He is an NFL left guard. With Jackson and Dotson aboard, the Rams appear to be shifting second-year IOL Steve Avila to the center position, a rumor that he adeptly avoided answering when directly asked by the Fansided team in the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII.

With both Jackson and Dotson at guard positions, the Rams seem unlikely to offer an extension to last year's starting center Coleman Shelton.

But the team was not finished. Rams GM Les Snead was right back at it, this time signing former Seattle Seahawks tight end Colby Parkinson to a three-year deal worth $22.5 million. While he may not seem like a dangerous offensive weapon, several Seahawks contributors have endorsed Parkinson as a far more dangerous offensive player than he produced in the Seahawks offense.

Parkinson is an elite run blocker and a tight end who instantly becomes a red zone target for the team with his 6-foot-7 height. With Parkinson aboard, the team has the option to save over $1.3 million by releasing the oft-injured TE Hunter Long. Even injured veteran TE Tyler Higbee could save the team over $5 million against the 2024 salary cap if he is released with a post-June-1 designation. Will the front office pull the trigger? I believe that Hunter Long is at serious risk of release now.

And have you noticed the common thread with the team's focus in the early stage of free agency? The additions to the roster have been on the offensive side of the football, mainly adding to the team's ability to block. While that makes veteran QB Matthew Stafford, safer in the pocket it also adds a huge dimension of allowing the offense to run it down their opponents' throats.

The Rams want to turn red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, and what better way than to beef up the power running game? Better still, our latest mock draft is the perfect complement to free agent signings to date.

How are you feeling so far. Excited at the new players? Concerned that the team has committed so much money to players you thought to be secondary needs? Let us know how you feel in the comments section of our Facebook page.

And thank you for reading.