Andrew Whitworth, 14-year pro, UFA
Whitworth is past his prime and it showed in 2019. He’s had to resort to commit more penalties this season than any other season. There were times he was simply beat. That being said, Whitworth is easily the best lineman on the team. While Whitworth is no longer a Pro Bowl caliber player, he’s certainly among the more talented left tackles in the league.
The Rams will really have to make the tough decision of bringing him back or letting him walk. It’s a tough call because he will likely command at least $10 million, which is still worth it to a degree, but Whitworth can’t come back every season. At some point, the Rams must find his replacement. There are some talented young tackles on the team, but it’s unknown if any of them can actually take the reigns of the most important position on the offensive line. It really depends on the confidence level McVay has on the young talent on the team.
It is probably in the Rams’ best interest to bring him back for one more season until they truly find or are comfortable with Whitworth’s replacement. It seems he isn’t quite ready for retirement just yet and he is still hungry to get a Super Bowl ring.
Rob Havenstein, 5-year pro, 3-year/$24,375,000 contract
Where to begin here? So Havenstein signed a massive contract after having an impressive 2018 season. Made sense at the time. Unfortunately, Havenstein did not perform up to expectations in 2019. In fact, he struggled throughout the entire season. In his defense, he did sustain an injury through the middle of the season, but he struggled before that too.
To put things into perspective, Havenstein was a healthy scratch toward the end of the season. McVay essentially benched him in favor of the rookie Bobby Evans. That’s not something your team wants to see from a lineman they just invested in.
This brings up a good problem to have in 2020. Considering if the Rams bring back Whitworth, there will likely be an intriguing competition during training camp and the preseason between Evans and Havenstein. Perhaps a friendly competition can bring back Havenstein’s competitiveness? Either way, the Rams could also look to move Havenstein at guard, but he’s more suitable as a right tackle.
Bobby Evans, 1-year pro, 3-year/$2,635,419
Evans suffered a similar fate as fellow rookie tackle Edwards. He too began as a healthy scratch for a large chunk of the year. It wasn’t until Havenstein sustained an injury that Evans seen action. The rookie performed much better than expected. It was to the point that Evans replaced Havenstein for the remainder of the year.
As mentioned above, this does give the Rams a good problem to have. If Havenstein bounces back from a terrible 2019 season, it will be tough for Evans to start over him. That said, Evans is supposed to be the future of the offensive line. Another possibility is moving Evans to guard since McVay cross-trained him too.