When counting Super Bowls and attaching credit, the conversations tend to gravitate around the quarterback position. But like a balloon on a string, the only thing keeping those quarterbacks stable and tied to the ground is a strong force at center.
Many great teams had great centers and offensive turnarounds have often correlated with upgrades at the center position. Two obvious examples from the last five years being Alex Mack joining the Falcons and John Sullivan signing with the Rams.
Regardless of his absence being the cause of it or not, Los Angeles hasn’t played as well offensively since Sullivan retired and Mack happens to be among the free agent centers this offseason. The Rams may not have a lot of cap space for upgrades, but with Austin Blythe also hitting the open market unless they re-sign him, it could be an area of focus this March.
Here are the unrestricted free agent centers, ranked by percentage of snaps played in 2020:
Dan Feeney, Chargers, 100%
Feeney has age on his side, but not a lot of quality tape from the sounds of it.
Ted Karras, Dolphins, 100%
Austin Blythe, Rams, 100%
Alex Mack, Falcons, 86.6%
Mack will turn 36 in November, which doesn’t seem that old in comparison to Andrew Whitworth at least.
Austin Reiter, Chiefs, 78.7%
Reiter’s been in a great situation in front of Patrick Mahomes and he has high marks for pass blocking, low marks for run blocking.
David Andrews, Patriots, 71.6%
Andrews missed all of 2019 for New England (and was replaced by Karras, who then went to the Dolphins) and he missed four starts in 2020. The Patriots had those two and Joe Thuney in 2019 and now could be without all three. It’s quite a restart for Bill Belichick.
Corey Linsley, Packers, 70.7%
Linsley was a first team all-pro in 2020 and should be the more prized center acquisition on the market. Will Green Bay keep him around? Will a team pay well more than any other bidders because they’re desperate for a center upgrade? In any case, the Rams would only seem to be in line for Linsley if he was anxious to play in LA with Matthew Stafford and willing to take a discount.
Joe Looney, Cowboys, 66.6%
Matt Skura, Ravens, 64.4%
Tyler Shatley, Jaguars, 62% (as a guard)
Nick Easton, Saints, 52.2%
Easton was recently cut by New Orleans, a team that already has Erik McCoy and Cesar Ruiz on the roster. Easton has played a lot more guard than center recently.
Josh Andrews, Jets, 31.4% (guard)
Ben Garland, 49ers, 30.4%
Former Alex Mack backup, filled in to make five starts at center with the 49ers last season.
If you had to pick one...
This poll is closed
Austin Blythe, medium commitment
Alex Mack, risky short-term commitment
Corey Linsley, big commitment
Austin Reiter, medium commitment
David Andrews, medium commitment
Other Free Agent commitment
Move over Austin Corbett