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Rams OLs Coleman Shelton, Kevin Dotson expected to hit open market as free agents

Rams GM Les Snead says the team has been in ‘constant communication’ with both players and their representatives, but he understands players’ desires to determine their value

While the Rams remain in communication with offensive linemen Coleman Shelton, left, and Kevin Dotson, right, ahead of next month’s NFL free agency, GM Les Snead told reporters on Tuesday that he expects both players to test their value on the open market. (Photos by The Associated Press)
While the Rams remain in communication with offensive linemen Coleman Shelton, left, and Kevin Dotson, right, ahead of next month’s NFL free agency, GM Les Snead told reporters on Tuesday that he expects both players to test their value on the open market. (Photos by The Associated Press)
Sports reporter Adam Grosbard in Torrance on Monday, Sep. 23, 2019. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)
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While the Rams remain in communication with offensive linemen Kevin Dotson and Coleman Shelton ahead of next month’s NFL free agency, General Manager Les Snead told reporters on Tuesday that he expects both to test their value on the open market.

Dotson, the team’s starting right guard last season, was scheduled to become a free agent following the expiration of his rookie contract. Shelton had an option to void the final season of a two-year contract he signed last offseason, and Snead said Tuesday on a Zoom call with reporters that Shelton is exercising that void to test free agency.

Snead said the Rams have been in “constant communication” with Shelton and his representation, and have had “very similar discussions” with Dotson and his camp as well.

“[Shelton] wanted to take the void, and at that point, let’s begin figuring out maybe the next contract for him,” Snead said. “Kevin got to this point, earned this opportunity to find his real market.”

Snead added that he understands players’ desires to determine their value on the open market before having more substantive negotiations with the Rams.

“Sometimes you gotta be patient in this process, which I do think is very healthy and productive for both sides,” Snead said. “You can’t microwave free agency. You have to put it in the oven.”

Similarly, Snead said that the Rams have talked with safety John Johnson III and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and their reps, but both are also expected to test the market after making major contributions to the Rams on veteran minimum deals in 2023.

As the Rams prepare for free agency, they have a salary cap question to answer.

Utility offensive lineman Joe Noteboom is scheduled to be the Rams’ fourth-highest cap hit at $20 million. If he were released and designated a post-June 1 cut, that could free up $15 million in cap space for the Rams with a dead cap figure of $5 million.

Snead praised Noteboom as a valuable sixth man along the Rams’ offensive line, with the versatility to play all four guard and tackle spots, and said the Rams were open to restructuring Noteboom’s contract, something the two sides did last offseason as well.

“We’ve actually had discussions with Joe and his reps trying to figure out a win-win to come back just because he’s been a valuable piece for us,” Snead said. “It’s a process.”

HIGBEE UPDATE

Tight end Tyler Higbee has had surgery to repair the torn ACL and MCL he suffered in the playoff loss to the Detroit Lions, Snead said on Tuesday. A timeline for the veteran’s return is still unclear due to it occurring in January.

“No. 1 goal is we said let’s try to get Tyler healthy first and then we’ll figure out a plan next,” Snead said.

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