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Why Rams invested heavily at guard position in free agency, and what’s next as the 2024 NFL Draft approaches

Why Rams invested heavily at guard position in free agency, and what's next as the 2024 NFL Draft approaches

ORLANDO, Fla. – Externally, there may have been some ideas of the Rams’ biggest roster needs – namely on defense – and those positions subsequently being addressed as the new league year began.

But as free agency unfolded, the signings leaned toward the offense with the return of Kevin Dotson and the signings of Jonah Jackson, Colby Parkinson and Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Of course, defense was addressed with the signings of defensive backs Kamren Curl and Darious Williams. Overall, though, each move was part of a strategic pivot and investment to best position the Rams in 2024. 

“I think to (head coach) Sean (McVay) and (general manager) Les (Snead)’s credit, (as well as Vice President, Football & Business Administration) Tony (Pastoors) and the scouting staff, when you enter free agency with a lot of money for the first time, a lot of salary cap space, I think they looked at it as, ‘how do we build the best team?'” Rams President Kevin Demoff told at the NFL Annual Meeting earlier this week. “Maybe not what the holes at the time were, (but) it’s always a long offseason. Last year proved you can fill holes all the way up through the season. I mean, I even think Carson Wentz right at the end. And the really good teams go out to the best players and (are) not just filling holes that stage. So I think, Sean, Les, the offensive staff, Tony, Matt Shearin, John McKay, Matt Waugh, had a vision that the best value in this year’s free agency is going to be at the guards, it’s where they thought the best player value alignment (was).” 

Asked about their evaluation of the guard market, Pastoors said the entire offensive line as a market “has grown by leaps and bounds.” He pointed to what tackles on both sides are getting paid now, and how they’ve been fortunate with former left tackle Andrew Whitworth being on a team-friendly deal, as well as current starting right tackle Rob Havenstein and his agent Joe Panos always being great to work with. 

“So we kind of had been fortunate to stay out of that, to some extent, out of the new heights of those markets,” Pastoors said. “From an interior, we’ve been kind of the same. We knew that growth was coming. We try to keep a pulse of what’s going on across the league, and you hear from other agents and what they thought it could be. And so when we were able to get the Kevin deal done prior to the start of free agency, I think that was really helpful because (it’s), ‘okay,…

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