PHOENIX -- At this point, it looks like the right side of the Los Angeles Rams' offensive line will be made up entirely of converting players.
Though offseason workouts and training camp will be the ultimate decider, Greg Robinson is expected to move from left tackle to right tackle, and Rob Havenstein is expected to shift from right tackle to right guard, Rams general manager Les Snead confirmed from the owners meetings on Monday.
The shift began with the addition of veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who signed a three-year, $33.75 million contract in early March. Robinson, the former No. 2 overall pick who has struggled mightily through his first three years, will shift to the right side, but the Rams want him to remain a tackle. And they feel more comfortable with Havenstein, a second-round pick from 2015, making the switch to guard.
"He’s a very, very, very smart guy," Snead said of Havenstein. "Being inside, you have to be mentally agile in there, a lot more than you have to be at tackle. Things happen quicker, and there’s more options of who you block. Most of the time at tackle, it’s a very limited number of people based on what changes in a defense."
The Rams want to simplify things as much as possible for Robinson in hopes of getting the most out of him in what will likely be the final year of his rookie contract.
Snead would not comment on Robinson's contractual status, but the Rams are unlikely to pick up his fifth-year option by the May 3 deadline. One possibility could be that the Rams eventually try to tack on an extra year or two to Robinson's contract for less than the value of his fifth-year option, but those talks -- a long shot at this point -- probably wouldn't take place until after the start of the season.
The Rams have Whitworth solidified at left tackle and will have Rodger Saffold at left guard, giving them two veterans to protect the blind side of second-year quarterback Jared Goff. But they're still in need of a center, and they continue to look to free agency and the trade market for potential fits. John Sullivan, who spent last season as a backup for a Redskins team that had Sean McVay as the offensive coordinator, visited with the Rams last week but remains unsigned.
"The biggest key for us right now, because you do have a second-year QB, is whoever that player is has got to be mentally astute," Snead said of the team's center, a position that became vacant after the release of Tim Barnes. "You’d probably rather have a veteran who’s done it, at least a veteran mentor."
In Robinson, 6-foot-5 and 332 pounds, and Havenstein, 6-foot-8 and 321 pounds, the Rams would at least have some real size on the right side of an offensive line that was probably the NFL's worst last season. Havenstein had a solid rookie year in 2015, but struggled in 2016 -- though Snead previously indicated that he played through injuries.
"Another thing with Rob," Snead said, "is if you do move him inside, if he ever does go back outside, a lot of times going from outside to inside things happen a little bit quicker in there. Then when they go back outside, it can be a little less stressful, and being versatile is always good."