Rams beat free-agency frenzy by agreeing to deal with key piece of line, Kevin Dotson

The Rams’ trade for offensive lineman Kevin Dotson on the eve of last season did not rank as a blockbuster but proved vital for a team that advanced to the playoffs.

Dotson started 14 games at right guard and played extremely well, positioning himself as perhaps the top pending unrestricted free agent offensive lineman.

Free agency begins next week, but Rams general manager Les Snead made a big move Thursday by agreeing to contract terms with Dotson, said a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Terms of the contract were not available but several reports said it was a three-year deal that could be worth as much as $48 million.

Dotson, 27, began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rams acquired him last August in a deal that cost them a 2024 fourth-round draft pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Snead said last week that Dotson had earned the opportunity to find “the reality of his market,” and that he anticipated it would carry into next week.

The Rams were set to begin free agency with about $40 million in salary-cap space, according to overthecap.com. The Rams ranked 12th among NFL teams in cap space.

Dotson is the second potential free agent to re-sign with the Rams, joining receiver Demarcus Robinson, who agreed to a one-year contract.

Right tackle Rob Havenstein and left guard Steve Avila are under contract but Snead still has work to do to solidify the offensive line.

Center Coleman Shelton is a pending unrestricted free agent and left tackle Alaric Jackson is a pending restricted free agent.

Reserve Joe Noteboom, who has started at both tackle spots and at guard, probably will have to agree to a contract restructure to remain with the team. Noteboom is due to earn $10 million in salary and carry a cap number of $20 million, according to overthecap.com.

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