After agreeing to lucrative extensions with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Jalen Ramsey last offseason, the Los Angeles Rams faced a salary cap crunch ahead of 2021 free agency.
The Rams have not been shy about extending core players of the team, but that strategy has forced general manager Les Snead to make difficult decisions regarding the rest of the roster. Los Angeles saw several impact players like John Johnson III, Troy Hill and Gerald Everett leave for more money elsewhere, leaving Snead with more holes to fill either during the second wave of free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft.
Snead and the front office have proven they can work the margins as well as anyone, and likely already have a plan in place to shore up the team. However, their jobs got much more difficult after it was reported that starting center Austin Blythe will also be departing, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network:
The #Chiefs agreed to terms with center Austin Blythe on a one-year deal, per source.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 30, 2021
After a dismal offensive line showing in Super Bowl LIV, the Kansas City Chiefs have made sure to address the holes along their offensive line. Kansas City agreed to terms with Joe Thuney and Kyle Long in free agency, but now add a solid center in Blythe, who figures to come in and start immediately.
For the Rams, this is not much of a surprise as they are right up against the salary cap and still need to fill out certain sections of the roster. Blythe played well during his time in Los Angeles and it was widely expected that he had priced himself out of the team’s budget, even if he’s only signing a one-year deal.
How L.A. plans to replace Blythe will be interesting as they have former starter Brian Allen but also have several draft picks they could use as well. The upcoming draft is projected to be filled with talented interior offensive lineman prospects, so the front office may decide to go that route.