He’s the best option at one of the most important positions and Matthew Stafford could be in trouble without him
To say that Joseph Noteboom’s four years in the NFL is different than his five years at TCU is an understatement. A three-star recruit out of Plano, Texas in 2013, Noteboom took a redshirt year as a freshman and played a reserve role in year two. But then Noteboom became TCU’s starting right tackle as a sophomore and didn’t come out of a game again until three years later before entering the NFL Draft.
Having spent his last two years as the Horned Frog’s left tackle, Noteboom started 40 consecutive games in college, an accomplishment that would sound all the more impressive … If I didn’t feel it necessary to point out that Andrew Whitworth started FIFTY-TWO consecutive games at LSU, never even missing a practice with the Tigers during his college career.
It’s possible that no player in college history played more offensive snaps than Whitworth. Who, of course, followed that up by playing in the NFL for 16 seasons, only missing nine games prior to an injury in 2020, which is also the first opportunity that Noteboom would get to prove that he could be the Rams’ heir apparent to the greatest ironman the position has ever seen.
Nobody is going to ask Joseph Noteboom to be as good or as reliable as Andrew Whitworth because that is a bar that has no precedent. He was one of a kind.
However, the L.A. Rams will need the best that Noteboom can give at left tackle and they will need him to at least channel the one aspect of Whitworth’s career that truly was like nobody else at his position: Play every down.
What a fantastic game Joseph Noteboom @jnoteboom70 had in the divisional playoff round thriller against Tampa Bay. His pass blocking was superb and he seems to be getting better with each start at Left Tackle pic.twitter.com/hODuucbNWp
We know how important protecting Matthew Stafford’s blindside will be to the Rams this season. We know that Noteboom has done an admirable job of it during his spot duty in place of Whitworth over the past two seasons, including all 72 snaps at left tackle during L.A.’s divisional round win over the Buccaneers and “the Andrew Whitworth of quarterbacks.” We don’t know anything about the players who are set to backup Noteboom at left tackle this year though, and that’s why he has to be one of the five-most important players to the Rams this season.
Even though Noteboom has only made 17 starts over the first four seasons of his NFL career, a few of which came at left guard and not at tackle, the Rams made it a priority to re-sign him before the rest of the NFL could get their hands on him. Les Snead gave Noteboom a three-year, $40 million contract with $16.5 million guaranteed because if the Rams lost him, they would probably be looking at Eric Fisher or some other concerning veteran options, if not going the route of a player who has no experience at all.
Noteboom carries a cap hit of only $3.5 million in 2022, but that jumps up to $15.5 million in 2023 and $17 million in 2024, with a $4 million void year in 2025.
Joseph Noteboom’s #Rams Extension
– 3 yrs, $40M
– $16.5M guaranteed at sign
– Another $8.5M in March 2023
– 2 void years for cap purposes
– 2 yrs, $25M practical
2025: $4M (dead)
Full Breakdown: https://t.co/vAC35BQWlv
By all accounts, the plan is for Noteboom to be a starter for the next two seasons and if he does well, L.A. would probably look to extend him in 2024 rather than let him enter a contract year. If he doesn’t play well, or gets injured, the team could release him for $11 million in savings from his $17 million cap hit.
And injury isn’t something that can be ignored like it often was with Whitworth for nearly 15 healthy years. Noteboom suffered a significant knee injury in 2019.
#Rams coach Sean McVay tells reporters that G Joseph Noteboom has a torn ACL and MCL and will be out for rest of season. A tough one, he has impressed.
It does seem like Noteboom is a pretty good left tackle, if not on his way to become a great one. We just haven’t seen him perform in the NFL very often and that’s only something that can start to happen in Week 1 against the Bills, as he won’t be partaking in any preseason games, just like the rest of the Rams’ starters.
For now, the backup options would appear to be 2021 undrafted free agent A.J. Jackson, 2022 undrafted free agent A.J. Arcuri, 2020 seventh round pick Tremayne Anchrum (who could technically still win the right guard job), or—and this is super unlikely—2021 international pathway player Max Pircher.
That would seemingly be the plan if anything happened to Noteboom, a tackle who has 17 career starts, only some of which came at left tackle, and tore his ACL and MCL less than three years ago. So yes, while others on the Rams roster have more experience, more accolades, and did more for your fantasy teams, they might have slightly better depth behind them or play a less important position than what L.A. is looking at with left tackle.
Noteboom doesn’t just seem to be a good option. He is the only option.