New Ram teamed with 'The Wizard' before; Colby Parkinson feels at home at tight end


Offensive lineman Jonah Jackson has joined a new team, but he’s plenty familiar with the quarterback.

During his rookie season with the Detroit Lions, Jackson played left guard and protected Matthew Stafford. Now, after signing a three-year contract with the Rams that includes $34 million in guarantees, Jackson once again will team with Stafford.

“In Detroit, we called him The Wizard,” Jackson said Thursday during a video conference with reporters. “He could figure it all out and he could make anything happen.

“I’m excited to be able to protect him.”

Jackson was one of four unrestricted free agents signed or re-signed by the Rams in the first wave of NFL free agency.

Right guard Kevin Dotson, who played well for the Rams after being acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, agreed to terms before free agency began. The Rams also signed cornerback Darious Williams and tight end Colby Parkinson, bolstering a team that finished 10-7 and advanced to the playoffs last season under coach Sean McVay.

With Jackson set to play left guard, second-year pro Steve Avila will move to center. Former center Coleman Shelton on Thursday signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears.

Jackson, 27, made the Pro Bowl in 2021. He sat out five games last season because of wrist and knee injuries, and suffered a knee injury in an NFC divisional-round victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that sidelined him for the NFC championship game defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.

Jackson said he was attracted to the Rams because “the pieces to the puzzle were incredible.” He felt some familiarity with the organization because Lions general manager Brad Holmes spent years working for the Rams, Jackson said.

“Once I heard the Rams were willing to do what they did” in negotiations, he said, “and be able to go somewhere and potentially win it all, there was no denying it.”

During the lead-up to free agency, Rams General Manager Les Snead had said that he anticipated Dotson would test the market but he agreed to terms before the NFL’s negotiating period began Monday.

Dotson said he was happy to return to a team with the same coach and system.

“And being in a place that’s actually really enjoyable to be in, outside of football also,” Dotson said during a video conference. “A big selling point for me was just like how I felt day to day … in California.”

Negotiations with the Rams, he said, were smooth.

“They didn’t really haggle too much with me or try to start lowballing me at the beginning,” he said. “So everything felt respectable from the beginning to end. I think they made the process easy too.”

Signing with the Rams was an easy decision for Parkinson, who received a three-year deal that includes $15.5 million in guarantees, according to spotrac.com.

The Simi Valley native played at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High. He attended Stanford before playing his first four NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.

Returning to Southern California provides Parkinson with the opportunity to play in front of family and friends and become involved in the community, he said.

With veteran Tyler Higbee recovering from knee surgery, Parkinson joins a position group that also includes Davis Allen and Hunter Long.

“It’s just a natural fit,” he said of his decision to sign with the Rams. “They do a lot of great things in the offense, Sean does a great job, and the way I can present myself as a three-down tight end really fits the mold, and I’m excited to get to work.”

Williams, who turns 31 Friday, played for the Rams from 2018 to 2021 and helped them win Super Bowl LVI. The Jacksonville Jaguars gave him a three-year contract that included $18 million in guarantees, but after playing two seasons he was cut last week to create cap space.

Williams is now the most experienced cornerback in a position group that includes third-year pros Derion Kendrick and Cobie Durant and second-year pro Tre Tomlinson.

Snead continues to mold the Rams roster.

The team this week placed a second-round tender on left tackle Alaric Jackson and a right-of-first-refusal tender on outside linebacker Micahel Hoecht, both restricted free agents. If they remain with the Rams, Jackson will earn $4.9 million, Hoecht $3 million, according to overthecap.com.



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