The list of upcoming free agents for the Los Angeles Rams contains the longest tenured player on the roster, LG Rodger Saffold.
Saffold was selected with the 33rd-overall pick (first pick in the second round) by the then St. Louis Rams in the 2010 NFL Draft. In what seems like eons ago, the Rams selected Saffold to protect the blindside of then newly drafted QB Sam Bradford.
Fast forward nine years, one already failed free agency deal with the Oakland Raiders, a re-signing, and Super Bowl appearance later, and Saffold is officially a free agent once again. Saffold will begin the season as a 31-year old ninth-year vet, so I guess I can understand the idea of there being some “worry” as opposed to how long he can continue to play at a high level. I also don’t think it should scare the Rams enough to let him leave.
The state of the offensive line is quite uncertain moving forward. Though RT Rob Havenstein is locked in place for the future and RG Austin Blythe is young and progressing, the remaining three spots on the offensive line are all question marks on a year-to-year basis. C John Sullivan is the anchor, though he’s quickly declining in terms of play and will be 34-years old to begin the season. LT Andrew Whitworth is still a superstar on the blindside, though he has yet to commit to playing this year and is 37-years old. With the left tackle and center positions potentially being holes moving forward both this year and in the future, the Rams need to do their best to retain the services of Rodger Saffold (who’s sandwiched between Whit and Sully) ensuring as much continuity on the OL as possible.
Saffold is a fantastic player who’s seemingly moved on from a consistently injured player that’s oozing with potential to one of the best guards in football, so his services are likely to be compensated as such in the free agency market — if he reaches the market. Saffold went from stating he’d consider taking a “hometown discount” to remain with the Rams, though his tone recently changed (and can you blame him?):
Rams OL Rodger Saffold says “of course” he wants to stay with the Rams, but he has to look out for his family. Here’s him on his future as he enters free agency. @DowntownRams @usatodaynfl @CVRamsClub pic.twitter.com/X7BKABxHEW— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) February 5, 2019
So what’s a potential deal for Saffold look like that’s fair for both sides?
Well, it depends. It depends on whether the Rams would rather go heavy on guaranteed money, light on guaranteed money, or right in between. Taking a look at guard salaries on OverTheCap, I think a fair deal could look like this:
3 years, $30m total, $10.5m guaranteed
That’d give Saffold another chance at a contract at 34-years old and falls right in line with recent guard extensions (35% of contract guaranteed). Now, Saffold re-signing likely means he’s fine with taking “less money” to stay in Los Angeles. That’s because if he does manage to reach the market, he’s likely to secure a big contract with the never-ending major need for quality offensive lineman across the league.
Rodger Saffold being a mainstay on the offensive line, a high quality player, and a life-long Ram should ensure he’ll remain in horns for the foreseeable future. Let’s see if both parties agree.