The Los Angeles Rams have been dealt a number of difficult financial decisions along the offensive line in recent years - the team let Austin Corbett walk this past offseason, but elected to keep Brian Allen, Joseph Noteboom, and Coleman Shelton. After Andrew Andrew Whitworth’s retirement, LA extended RT Rob Havenstein to serve as the veteran leader of that unit for the future.
Fourth-year lineman David Edwards is the next pending free agent for the team in 2023, but it’s becoming tougher to see him sticking around past this season.
Edwards has been a starting-caliber player since being selected by LA in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was inserted into the first string unit at times as a rookie, and then he took hold of the left guard position in his second full season in 2020 and hasn’t looked back since.
As a bit of a limited athlete, Edwards is prone to being overmatched at times - especially in terms of pass protection. This makes him somewhat of an up-and-down player for Los Angeles, but he’s reliable and will hold up in most situations against most NFL competition.
Except Edwards hasn’t been his normal self so far this season - and he’s playing below the standard he’s set for himself. He’s allowing a career high rate of pressure, though this is likely attributable to a rough outing in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills and a small sample size overall.
Bills DT Jordan Phillips was a force against the Rams. Beautiful spin move past Rams guard David Edwards to get to Matthew Stafford for one of his two sacks on the night. #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/d0z29gQakK— Jarrett Bailey (@JBaileyNFL) September 10, 2022
The former Wisconsin Badger recorded over 1,000 snaps on offense over each of the last two years - he’s how he fared in regards to protecting the quarterback, according to Pro Football Focus data:
Total snaps 1,006; 584 snaps in pass protection
22 total pressures allowed (efficiency rating of 97.9%)
Total snaps 1,086; 645 snaps in pass protection
35 total pressures allowed (efficiency rating of 96.8%)
Total snaps 129; 87 snaps in pass protection
6 total pressures allowed (efficiency rating of 95.4%)
What this means moving forward
Prior to the start of the regular season, the Rams extended veteran RT Rob Havenstein in order to keep him around for the foreseeable future at an average cap hit of $11.5M per year. Los Angeles has made significant investments in both tackle positions, including Joseph Noteboom (13.3M APY) on the left side of the line.
Brian Allen ($6M APY) and Coleman Shelton ($1.6M) are also under contract for 2023, so it’s probable they will be penciled in as the starters at center and right guard, respectively.
Re-signing a 26-year old free agent guard who’s proved capable won’t be cheap, especially when the Rams could reasonably feel an upgrade over Edwards is on the table. There’s a notable shortage of offensive lineman around the NFL, which only helps to drive up the market value of a relatively young player with multiple years of starting experience.
Rams OG David Edwards is an early name the #Bears should watch in 2023 FA.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) August 23, 2022
• T-2nd points earned/snap for OG
• T-5th points above average
• 5th in WAR
• Most points earned of any OL as a run blocker
• Hasn’t missed a game
• Downers Grove native pic.twitter.com/BXRYnBJlQ8
Would Sean McVay and the Rams be comfortable heading into next season with someone like AJ Jackson at left guard, or could Logan Bruss or Tremayne Anchrum make recoveries from their season-ending injuries to push for a starting role?
The bottom line is that LA has options along the interior offensive line for next year, and they likely won’t have the luxury of sinking more money into a pricey veteran.
It sure seems that David Edwards is playing his way out of Los Angeles.