Just before the start of the 2023 season, the Los Angeles Rams swung a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers to acquire guard Kevin Dotson in a swap of draft picks in 2024 and 2025. It wasn’t a flashy move by any means, but it’s one that helped the Rams significantly over the course of the season because Dotson turned out to be one of the best guards in the NFL.
The one downside to the trade is that Dotson had just one year left on his contract, so he’ll hit free agency this offseason – and he probably won’t be cheap.
He’s one of several Rams starters who will hit the market in March but according to Pro Football Focus, Dotson is the one player the team can’t afford to lose.
The Rams’ trade for Dotson from the Pittsburgh Steelers before the season should have served as a signal about the change in rushing scheme McVay was adopting, and Dotson was a picture-perfect fit as Los Angeles pivoted to an inside-zone/gap-heavy attack on the ground with great success.
Over the past two seasons on different teams, Dotson’s 77.2 pass-blocking grade is a top-10 mark among guards and his 3.2% pressure rate allowed ranks sixth.
The Rams don’t have many great options at guard if Dotson does end up leaving in free agency, with Joe Noteboom essentially being the only one under contract who can play guard opposite Steve Avila. Noteboom is also a potential cap casualty, so that could make it even more important to re-sign Dotson.
For a team that’s lacked continuity along the offensive line in recent years, bringing back Dotson to maintain a similar group to the one the Rams deployed in 2023 – even if it comes at a high cost.