The Los Angeles Rams handed out contract extensions like candy last offseason, signing Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Brandin Cooks and Rob Havenstein to lucrative deals in a very short span. They all look like wise decisions up to this point, and while Donald is the best of the bunch, Havenstein’s deal looks like a bargain.
The big right tackle signed a four-year, $32.5 million extension in August and absolutely delivered in his first season on the new contract. He’s turned into one of the best offensive tackles in football, leading all linemen in 2018 with a run-blocking grade of 84.5 from Pro Football Focus.
Havenstein wasn’t viewed as an elite tackle prior to 2018, but he’s become one in short time. Looking at his stats over the past three years, he’s improved significantly and truly become one of the best tackles – not just right tackles – in football.
In 2016, he allowed nine sacks for 92 yards and was called for four penalties. In 2017, he improved by allowing just five sacks for 30 yards, though he did have six penalties for 50 yards. Last season, all of those numbers plummeted, and in a good way.
He was called for just one penalty and surrendered only two sacks for 18 yards in the regular season and postseason altogether. That’s 19 total games without missing a single snap and allowing just three penalties and sacks combined.
Havenstein’s performance this past season really puts his contract into perspective as far as it being a bargain. Sure, his average salary of $8.125 million per year ranks fourth among all right tackles. However, he’s 22nd among all offensive tackles in terms of annual salary, which makes his deal look even better.
If Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams take down the New England Patriots Sunday in Super Bowl LIII, providing a narratively taut bookend to the Pats’ dynasty, they will do so in no small part thanks to the quiet contributions of Rob Havenstein.
You likely don’t know that name, unless you’ve spent any time wandering the halls, or the gym, or the weight room, or the locker room, or the coaches offices, or basically allowed your eyes to be open anywhere inside Linganore High School’s property line. There are trophies and photos, but there are also news clips, just about anywhere you look, celebrating Havenstein’s success.
Right tackles have become increasingly important, too, with some of the best pass rushers lining up on the left side of the defensive line, facing right tackles. This past season alone, Havenstein faced the likes of Von Miller, Cameron Jordan, DeMarcus Lawrence and Khalil Mack, holding his own against each guy.
As a lead blocker, it’s simply not fair, either. His power and athleticism make him dangerous in the open field with a ball carrier trailing him.
The Rams got ahead of his breakout season by signing him in August and it’s looking like one of the best decisions Les Snead has made. Havenstein is going to be a huge part of the Rams for a long time at a very reasonable cost.
Offensive line continuity scores were originally developed by Jason McKinley in the early days of FO (when FO Almanac was still Pro Football Prospectus) and we have since gone back and calculated it for every team since 1999. The continuity scores are based on three variables: number of starters used; number of week-to-week changes in starting lineups; and the longest starting streak of any one five-man unit. A team can earn a maximum of 16 points in any one category (one point per game), meaning a team that started the same five linemen in all 16 games would get a perfect score of 48; the 2018 Los Angeles Rams last year became the 38th team do so, as the quintet of Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Austin Blythe, and Rob Havenstein started ever game, including the playoffs. (This is no doubt a large reason they were able to post the highest adjusted line yards of any offense on record.) Hypothetically, if a team started five brand new linemen every week of the year, they would get a “perfect” score of -57, though of course nobody has ever come close to that.
7 teams that have to ace the 2019 NFL Draft after a quiet free agent period – SB Nation
Washington’s most notable move this offseason was signing Landon Collins for a whopping $84 million. He’ll serve as an upgrade over an underwhelming Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but he can’t fill the club’s other myriad of problems. New arrival Case Keenum could be an improvement over Colt McCoy at quarterback if he returns to his 2017 peak, or he could be responsible for another lost season if he plays like his 2018 regression. Jamison Crowder and Maurice Harris both left the receiving corps, while Preston Smith, a useful edge rusher, took a massive salary bump to be part of the Packers’ newfound spending strategy in Wisconsin. Dan Snyder’s team is in a tough spot. Last year’s squad did just well enough before Alex Smith’s potentially career-ending injury to push Washington to the 15th pick in this year’s draft, and it’s also out a fourth-rounder thanks to the Clinton-Dix trade last season. It’s been four years since Washington drafted a player who’d go on to the Pro Bowl — a trend the team needs to reverse after sending out more talent than it took in in free agency.