II: Is third time the charm for this interior offensive lineman?
While the Rams' front office faces a complex and very important decision over the future of veteran interior offensive lineman Kevin Dotson, this is not the first time the team has been confronted with this scenario. In fact, this is the third time the team has faced losing a very productive offensive guard.
The team failed to extend OG Rodger Saffold in the 2019 offseason. He would go on to sign with the Tennessee Titans. The team failed to extend OG Austin Corbett. He would go on to sign with the Carolina Panthers. Now the team faces a decision whether or not to sign OG Kevin Dotson. And I have no idea whether or not the team is willing to even make the effort to do so.
I do believe that not doing so would be a mistake. The team's offensive line was the backbone of the offense, which was the engine of the phenomenal 7-2 finish to the 2023 NFL season. The offensive line needed time to gel, as Dotson did not even have an opportunity to play until Week 4. The group's performance improved in each game, as players began to grow comfortable and more communicative as the season wore on.
How does this impact the team's offseason strategy?
If the team does not extend Dotson, then their entire draft strategy alters. The team cannot hope to compete in Super Bowl LIX with significant questions at right guard. While the team has plenty of promising prospects on the roster, none are proven yet. That level of uncertainty would force the team's hand to seek interior offensive line help in the 2024 NFL Draft no later than Round 3.
It could be that Kevin Dotson sees the 2024 NFL Free Agency market as his one and only opportunity to sign a lucrative contract, which could top $18 million per year. And I cannot fault the guy for chasing his bank. I do not expect the Rams to go higher than $13 million per year, if that much, to re-sign Dotson. But if they fail to do so, then all bets are off on this year's strategy.