Following their run to winning the 2022 Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams have lost a few key players this offseason.
Linebacker Von Miller signed a big-money deal to join the Buffalo Bills. Guard Austin Corbett signed a decent-sized deal to play for the Carolina Panthers. Wide receiver Robert Woods was shipped to the Tennessee Titans in a trade after five productive seasons in Los Angeles.
Quite possibly the biggest loss for the Rams, though, was veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth. The 40-year-old called it a career after 16 seasons in the NFL, playing five of them in Los Angeles.
But it appears there’s at least a slim chance Whitworth could still find his way back to the Rams’ locker room.
Whitworth on Potential NFL Return: ‘Never Say Never’
Whitworth isn’t fully shutting the door on making a comeback in 2022. Over the weekend, Whitworth was asked by TMZ if he would pull a Tom Brady, who announced his return to the Buccaneers on March 13, six weeks after he said he was retiring.
“You never say never. I did learn that,” Whitworth said with a smile.
“Late-season pickup?” the TMZ journalist asked.
“You never know,” Whitworth said.
Whitworth returning to the Rams would certainly be positive news for them. The three-time All-Pro still had another terrific year in 2021 at the age of 39. Pro Football Focus gave Whitworth an 87.2 grade for the 2021 season, the fourth-best among all offensive tackles in the league. His 89.8 pass-blocking grade was also the best among all offensive tackles in the league.
Despite being retired, Whitworth appears to at least still be living the life of an NFL player. He’s been posting workout videos on his Instagram, showing that he’s still remaining in shape if he does “pull a Brady.”
In the event that Whitworth decides he wants to come out of retirement, he would return to the Rams as he’s still under contract for one more season. However, his base salary for the remaining year is $1.12 million, per Spotrac, which likely wouldn’t be enough for him to make a return considering how well he played in 2021.
How the Rams Have Replaced Whitworth & Others
Los Angeles promoted from within to replace Whitworth, re-signing Joe Noteboom to a three-year, $40 million deal and tabbing him to be the team’s starting left tackle. The 26-year-old, who was drafted by the Rams in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, backed up Whitworth in 2021, playing just 174 snaps last season. He did perform well though in limited time, posting a 76 overall grade, per PFF.
Whitworth isn’t the only offensive lineman the Rams had to replace this offseason. The departure of Corbett meant that Los Angeles had to find a new right guard, too. The Rams used their first pick in the 2022 NFL draft to potentially replace Corbett, selecting Wisconsin guard Logan Bruss with their third-round pick. Bobby Evans, who was selected in the third round of the 2019 draft, could also be the guy to replace Corbett after serving as a backup on the right side of the line the last couple of seasons.
The trade of Woods actually came after the Rams replaced his spot on the roster. Los Angeles signed receiver Allen Robinson to a three-year, $45 million deal in March, prompting it to trade Woods for a 2023 draft pick. The Rams could also still re-sign Odell Beckham Jr., who remains a free agent but has expressed a desire to return to Los Angeles.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams haven’t done much to address the departure of Miller. They could promote from within and have Terrell Lewis take the other edge spot opposite Leonard Floyd. Lewis, a 2020 third-round pick, recorded three sacks in a backup role last season. Justin Hollins could be another potential replacement from within. The 26-year-old had two sacks last season. They did sign Bobby Wagner though to play inside linebacker, which could help alleviate the blow of Miller leaving.
Finally, cornerback Darious Williams signed with the Jaguars in March, creating a hole at cornerback. The Rams made a lot of moves on draft weekend to address their secondary. They re-acquired Troy Hill in a trade with the Browns in addition to selecting three corners on the final day of the draft.