Per the team’s transactions page on Friday, September 10, the Rams announced that guard Coleman Shelton has been promoted to the final 53-man roster two days before the 2021 season opener.
Shelton was on This List
Shelton was the fifth Rams player to be placed on that list before the season along with Tutu Atwell, Johnny Hekker, Corey Bojorquez (who was since traded to the Green Bay Packers) and Chris Garrett (still on COVID-19 list as of Friday).
But now, Shelton will join Atwell and Hekker on the Ram offense in Inglewood as the team welcomes the NFC North opponent who went 8-8 last year and made it to the playoffs as a wildcard.
What the Elevation Means for Rams
Promoting the 6-foot-4, 299-pounder comes in great use for a Rams offensive line that will need depth and versatility against the Bears’ defense.
While Shelton is naturally a guard, he’s likely to be plugged in the middle of the offensive trenches at center.
Per the team’s unofficial depth chart, Shelton is listed as the backup center to Brian Allen. The depth chart, however, doesn’t list a backup left guard to David Edwards. The only reserve guard per the chart is Bobby Evans.
Still though, the Rams will likely carry nine active offensive line options against a Bears team that ranked No. 14 overall in total defense for 2020. Chicago also surrendered 4.1 yards per carry against the ground attack and allowed the ninth-fewest first downs last year at 331.
On Thursday, September 9 following Rams practice, offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell described the Bear defense as a “challenge” and “physical” unit.
“It’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us, there’s no doubt about it,” O’Connell said. “It always is when you play such a physical group over there.”
Contract Restructured for Rams Starter
Meanwhile, the Rams freed up some cap space by restructuring one contract on Thursday.
Veteran tight end Tyler Higbee received a restructured deal per ESPN Rams reporter Lindsey Thiry. The deal involves creating $2 million in cap space, as noted by Thiry.
Per spotrac, the 28-year-old tight end is due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
Per Pro Football Reference, the 6-foot-6, 255-pounder has caught 173 passes for 1,927 yards and has scored 12 touchdowns, including a career-best five last season in his first five seasons with the Rams. Higbee was given a 69.2 overall grade by Pro Football Focus from 2020.
Higbee will be playing in a much younger TE group this season – one that features second-year pro Brycen Hopkins and fourth round selection Jacob Harris. Fourth-year TE Johnny Mundt, though, is listed as Higbee’s backup.