The Rams on Monday ensured that another key element of their offense would remain in place for the long term and moved closer to taking a chance that a defensive player with a productive but bumpy history will fit in to a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
The Rams signed right tackle Rob Havenstein to a four-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal is worth about $32.5 million, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
They also put veteran free-agent linebacker Junior Galette through a physical. Galette sat out the 2015 and 2016 seasons because of Achilles injuries and has a history of off-the-field incidents.
Havenstein has a salary-cap number of $1.26 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract. He was elated to get a significant pay bump and remain with the team that selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft.
“I’m happy as hell to be a Ram,” he said.
The 6-foot-8, 330-pound Havenstein is the third player on offense to receive an extension in the last few weeks.
On July 18, the Rams signed receiver Brandin Cooks to a five-year $80-million extension that includes about $50.5 million in guarantees. A week later, running back Todd Gurley signed a four-year, $60-million extension that includes $45 million in guarantees.
Now they’ve locked up Havenstein.
“It's a great opportunity to continue to keep that continuity,” coach Sean McVay said, adding, “You want to always take care of your own, especially if that's something that's available and those guys demonstrate that they’re deserving of that.”
Left guard Rodger Saffold and right guard Jamon Brown also are in the final year of their contracts.
With the offense set, and the outside linebacker position a question mark, the Rams are pursuing Galette to strengthen their pass rush. Galette, 30, has 34½ sacks, including 3½ last season playing as a reserve for the Washington Redskins.
Galette was scheduled to undergo a physical and work out Monday, but McVay said after the team’s afternoon practice that he was “not sure” about the status of the workout.
“He just finished up his physical,” McVay said. “I’m not sure if he’s even had that workout yet or not. … It kind of coincided where his physical ran a little bit longer.”
Galette began his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints in 2010 and signed a $41.5 million extension in 2014 after amassing 22 sacks in the previous two seasons. But the Saints released him in 2015, reportedly because of character issues that stemmed from locker room and off-the-field incidents.
In January 2015, Galette was charged in Louisiana with misdemeanor domestic abuse. The charge was later dropped but the NFL suspended Galette for two games. In April 2017, while under contract with the Redskins, Galette was tasered and arrested after he was involved in an altercation and then ran from police in Biloxi, Miss. Galette was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and failure to comply. As part of a plea deal, the case was dismissed in October 2017 after Galette completed anger management classes and community service, a court official said.
Rams defensive line coach Bill Johnson coached Galette with the Saints. Rams linebackers coach Joe Barry worked with him with the Redskins, where McVay was offensive coordinator.
“You've got to trust the people that have been around this person, know that it's an imperfect world,” McVay said of vetting players. “Certainly, there are certain things where you want to make sure you have an understanding of exactly what led to whatever the circumstances are, have some guys that have worked closely with him.
“That's where you've got to do a good job of being thorough with your evaluation and making decisions that, based on the entirety of it, are sound with some of the core beliefs and values that we want to uphold in this organization.”
With a few possible exceptions, starters including quarterback Jared Goff will play Saturday against the Houston Texans, McVay said.
“There's nothing like truly going through a pregame routine and, especially for a quarterback, being able to potentially get tackled,” McVay said. “Seeing a live rush, getting some throws and I think Jared would say himself, he wants to play.”
McVay said that he had confidence in rookie linemen Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen if left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan are held out.