New Bengals Addition Gives Away That the Rams Tried Adding Center Help

Lamont Gaillard

Getty Fromer Arizona Cardinals center Lamont Gaillard calls an offensive line signal against the Minnesota Vikings in 2019. Gaillard was nearly claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday.

The Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday claimed former Arizona Cardinals center Lamont Gaillard off waivers to bolster their offensive line, which pairs Gaillard with former Sean McVay assistant Zac Taylor.

But one tweet from Field Yates of ESPN on Friday signifies that Gaillard nearly stayed in the NFC West, as a possible addition to the Los Angeles Rams.

The report is especially eye-grabbing, considering how the Rams chose to not use the NFL Draft or the early free agency period to address the departure of original starter Austin Blythe, now with the Kansas City Chiefs.


How Do the Rams Look at Center?

Currently, the Rams are projected to slide guard Austin Corbett over to the middle of the offensive line. Then have Brian Allen and Coleman Shelton help fill the center spot.

Or did the possibility of adding Gaillard signal a change of heart?

Corbett, listed as Pro Football Focus’s No. 19 ranked center but also the league’s No. 20 ranked guard for 2021, had some of his best highlight moments last year at guard. Examples are shown below.

However, Yates’ tweet gives away that the Rams tried to bolster the center spot – which is an indicator that the team likely feels more comfortable with plugging Corbett back to guard.

The move would make a lot of sense, given that Corbett was one of the best interior offensive line blocking options on the Rams in 2020. And, according to PFF, he only surrendered one sack through 1,120 plays.


Who is Gaillard?

Gaillard is a former sixth round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Before the 25-year-old played his first NFL snap, Gaillard anchored the offensive trenches at the University of Georgia. As a Bulldog, he went from defensive lineman and 2014 Under Armour All-American defensive tackle to the offensive line. In 2016, he played in 13 games on the line and went on to win the offense’s Most Improved Player Award at the conclusion of spring football.

The following season saw Gaillard become more fixated on the offensive line. He went on to start in all 15 games for a Bulldogs team that went on to defeat a Baker Mayfield-led Oklahoma Sooners football team in the Rose Bowl before falling to Alabama in overtime of the 2018 National Championship game.

In Gaillard’s final season in Athens, Georgia, the Bulldogs’ ground game led the Southeastern Conference with 238.8 rushing yards per game. He managed to work his way to team captain for five games including the 2019 Sugar Bowl won by Texas.

He’s credited more as a run blocker, which was on display here against LSU from 2018.

He also once gave his former college teammate Nick Chubb an extra push.


What was Gaillard’s Value?

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Gaillard saw action in 13 games for the Cardinals. But he only started in two games.

Worse, Gaillard was given a lowly 48.1 grade by PFF, calculating that he totaled 217 snaps and drew two penalty markers.

Gaillard ended up becoming a part of a center shakeup in the desert. The Cardinals not only shipped off Mason Cole to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a sixth rounder, but Gaillard was waived on Wednesday.

Gaillard was once signed to a four-year deal worth up to $2.7 million according to overthecap.com. But he ends up not playing his third year of his original contract in Arizona.

However, three teams got interested in adding Gaillard including the Rams. Yates reports that the Bengals held a higher waiver priority for Gaillard.

Time will tell if the Rams will settle with who they have at center or perhaps dive back into free agency with training camp on the horizon. But it now looks like the Rams had an epiphany in looking at the center spot, by making the choice to try to add one more body to the center room.


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