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Re-signing this free agent should be a major offseason priority for Rams

LA’s acquisition of Kevin Dotson seemed to be a depth move initially, but the guard is having a breakout year

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Rams acquired offensive guard Kevin Dotson it seemed like a wise move to bolster depth coming off a 2022 season where the offensive line suffered a historically catastrophic string of injures. The Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers swapped mid-round picks to send Dotson to LA, though it took only four games for the guard to find his way into the starting lineup.

Just months after a trade that seemed like a minor note amidst a flurry of transactions as teams cut down to their regular season rosters, re-signing Dotson should be towards the very top of the Rams’ offseason to-do list.

Dotson has been LA’s best lineman this year

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), through 11 weeks Dotson is currently the eighth-highest graded lineman and the top performing guard in the NFL. While Joe Noteboom entered the season as the starter at RG, Dotson has usurped what was once a priority free agency re-signing by the Rams and provided stability along the middle of the offensive line.

The rep on Dotson in Pittsburgh was that he was a better in pass protection than run blocking, but that script has reversed course in his fourth season. Dotson is currently the fourth-highest rated guard in terms of run blocking at 84.8. He’s still fared well in terms of pass blocking—earning a grade of 72.5 and surrendering only eight pressures in seven games.

Rams have learned difficult free agent lessons of late

There are several free agency moves Los Angeles has made in recent seasons along the offensive line that should inform their approach to the position moving forward.

During the 2022 offseason coming off of a victory in Super Bowl LVI, the Rams let Austin Corbett walk and he signed with the Carolina Panthers. The right guard position has been in a constant state of flux until Dotson came to town, though LA has tried to fill this hole with players like Coleman Shelton, Noteboom, and Oday Aboushi. Corbett’s deal with Carolina averaged around nine million dollars annually, which is a price the Rams would probably be willing to pay if they could have a do over.

That same offseason the Rams gave contract extensions to Noteboom (three years, $40M) and center Brian Allen (three years, $24M). Both are bench players at this point in their careers.

Noteboom has lost his job to Alaric Jackson after spending years as Andrew Whitworth’s understudy and being groomed to be his replacement. Allen is currently serving as the backup to Shelton, who filled in during Allen’s multiple injury stints over the last few seasons. The Rams are embracing a more physical presence on the offensive line this year, and that came at the expense of the more undersized Allen.