Positive momentum builds as LA Rams rumored to be bringing back another key veteran

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

With the 2024 NFL Free Agency market's official opening still days away, the LA Rams front office is getting very busy. The team faced a 2024 NFL season with three of five starting offensive linemen in 2023 projected to hit free agency: IOL Kevin Dotson, IOL Coleman Shelton, and OT Alaric Jackson. Based on the fact that the entire starting offensive line played just over one-half of the season together as a group, the front office was eager to reform the same offensive line for the full 2024 NFL season.

Step one of that plan appears to be in the books, as reports seem to confirm that the team has extended right guard Kevin Dotson. With Dotson under contract through 2026, the team's next priority is to ensure that they have extended a Qualifying Tender Offer to Restricted Free Agent Alarri Jackson.

We had estimated that the team would not try to nickel and dime Jackson, a young but dependable starting left tackle whose 2024 performance should be expected to be even better than his 2023 showing. Rather, we anticipated that the team would extend him a Second Round Qualifying Tender Offer (approximately $5 million). But with the rising salary cap costs of tender offers, ESPN NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler is reporting that Rams rumors indicate Jackson may be offered the lesser tender offer ($3.116M), which only bestows the Right of First Refusal to the LA Rams:

What is a Right of First Refusal?

That is a process where a player and/or agent is allowed to negotiate their best offer from any NFL team, formalized on an NFL offer sheet. But before that player can sign with another team, the LA Rams have the option to review the offer sheet, and sign the contract instead. If the Rams opt out of executing the offer, then Jackson is permitted to sign with the other team. In this scenario, the Rams would not be due any further direct compensation as a result to losing Jackson.

If the Rams opt for the Second-Round offer, then the team signing Jackson would be required to send a Round 2 pick to the LA Rams as compensation. That draft compensation is very effective at discouraging player migration.

Extending an offer for starting LT Alaric Jackson makes far too much sense for the Rams this year. The lowest price that the team could hope to sign a left tackle capable of starting for the team would come in at least twice Jackson's price. And that new player may not be as effective as Jackson for the Rams.

So far, the Rams have three players extended through 2024. Jackson could be the fourth, which would make the team's offseason efforts look like this:

  1. WR Demarcus Robinson - 1 year $4.0 million with an additional $1 million in incentive clauses
  2. RB Ronnie Rivers - 1 year $985K
  3. IOL Kevin Dotson - 3 years $48 million $32 million guaranteed
  4. OT Alaric Jackson (rumored) - 1 year $3 - 5 million (Qualifying Tender Offer)

With recent developments, the team's 2024 NFL Draft options appear to be wide open. Even as the team has a glaring vacancy at their starting center position, I remain confident that Coleman Shelton will be extended as well:

Before reports of reaching an agreement with veteran IOL Kevin Dotson, the Rams were also reported to be in 'constant communication' with Dotson and his representation as well.

Should the team successfully extend 2023's starting offensive line, they can be significant players in the 2024 NFL Free Agency market, as well as the 2024 NFL Draft. And, after surprising everyone with an appearance in the 2024 NFL Playoffs, the Rams remain on track to be in the discussion for competing in Super Bowl LIX.

How do you feel about today's news? Are you growing more optimistic or more skeptical? Let us know in the comments section of our Facebook page. And, as always, thank you so much for reading.