The Los Angeles Rams made waves during free agency on day one by locking up Andrew Whitworth early in the process for $33.8m over three years. Whitworth (35-years old), like a fine wine, actually improved his play per PFF from 2015 to 2016:
26. Andrew Whitworth, LT, Cincinnati Bengals (41)
There is no more perennially underrated and under-appreciated tackle than Andrew Whitworth of the Bengals. He ended the 2016 season with the league’s best pass-blocking efficiency score (98.0), allowing just 14 total QB pressures across 561 pass-blocking snaps. Whitworth recorded six games this year in which he had perfect pass-protection games. His run blocking was solid, albeit not the strength it has been in seasons past.
Best performance: Week 7 vs. Browns, 84.1
Key stat: Whitworth was beaten for just one sack from Week 6 onwards.
Whitworth looks to lock down the left tackle spot after years of incompetency from Greg Robinson whom the Rams traded to the Detroit Lions in June. Since Robinson was drafted, he had four games of perfect pass protection albeit with a penalty in each of those games. Whitworth had six perfect games in 2016 alone without a penalty in any of those games.
New Rams OT Andrew Whitworth posted the highest pass-blocking efficiency (PBE) in 2016.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 14, 2017
As a team, the Rams ranked 24th in PBE in 2016. pic.twitter.com/4KVezuLaRx
There is no battle here. Whitworth is a lock to be the starting left tackle.
Whitworth’s only negative seems to be his age. While he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, father time is undefeated.
Looking forward, Whitworth is projected to still be a top-50 NFL player by some metrics (these aren’t the same metrics Snead used for Case Keenum in 2015...).
Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)
Not only due to his play or projections, but also due to his contract. Whitworth is guaranteed $15m on his contract and the Rams are clearly strapped for cash as they negotiate with Aaron Donald.
The big man isn’t going anywhere in 2017.