The Los Angeles Rams managed to avoid too much turnover to their offensive line last offseason by signing center Austin Blythe to a one-year deal.
The deal paid some major dividends as Blythe played an integral role for this much-improved offensive line during the 2020 campaign. However, the one-year deal he signed only offered up a temporary solution for the Rams as he gets set to become an unrestricted free agent.
It is safe to say that Blythe may be looking for a long-term deal this time around. Fortunately, his efforts have not gone unnoticed by the team.
Head coach Sean McVay offered up some praise for Blythe and his importance to this group, via Stu Jackson of the team’s official website:
“He really has done a nice job,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said during a Feb. 25 video conference with reporters. “It’s funny that you mentioned that, because we were talking amongst coaches and with (General Manager) Les (Snead) and his group over the last couple of weeks. We’ve talked about the importance of that center position, having the command and the capacity that you’re looking for because of the amount of responsibility that you put on that specific individual with where the communication starts, he and the quarterback working in unison.”
McVay added that Blythe made some tremendous strides since taking over during the 2019 campaign:
“Looking at what (former Rams center) John Sullivan was able to establish his first couple years, then seeing Austin start to play in the latter half of 2019, then watching where he took it and ran with it last season was really impressive,” McVay said. “He did a great job and he’s definitely somebody that we appreciate, we value.”
Blythe made his bones on the interior switching back and forth between guard and center. Of course, he was eventually tasked with serving as the centerpiece of this surging group after taking over for Brian Allen and has not looked back since.
McVay’s comments indicate that Blythe will be a top priority once free agency officially kicks off on March 17, especially with quarterback Matthew Stafford now in town. Regardless, there is still not enough to determine whether or not the Rams will have the resources to bring him back on a team-friendly deal.
Should Blythe leave, Allen would be the only center left outside of potentially moving guard Austin Corbett inside. They could also opt to bring in a new face through the 2021 NFL Draft if need be.