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Top Takeaways from GM Les Snead's NFL Combine Week press conference: Latest on Coleman Shelton and Kevin Dotson, backup QB spot and more 

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams general manager Les Snead held a video conference with reporters Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on the team's plans for free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft.

Here are some of the key takeaways from that conversation:

Hitting free market next step in negotiations with Dotson and Shelton

The Rams have been in "constant communication" with offensive lineman Kevin Dotson and Coleman Shelton's respective camps, but both are expected to hit the free market.

That's not necessarily a bad thing – Snead mentioned doing so would help both sides find a number that makes sense.

Snead said that Shelton decided to void his last year, which means he's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

"I would say most players get to this point where, 'Okay, the season's over,' they're in the last year of their contract, there is a side of the process where, to help figure it out the market, is somewhat go to the marketplace," Snead said. "And sometimes you gotta be patient in this process, which I do think is very healthy and productive for both sides. Because if you try to do something beforehand, it's really just probably the Rams side. But when you go to the market, then it's 31 other teams involved, and then you can use it to come up with a win-win."

With Dotson, Snead said it's "probably going to go into the window, at a minimum" – referring to the period of March 11 at 9 a.m. pacific time to March 13 at 12:59:59 p.m. pacific time, when teams are allowed to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents at the start of the new league year (1 p.m. PT on March 13).

Rams have had discussions with Noteboom and his reps about "win-win" financial situation to return

Snead said the Rams have had discussions with offensive lineman Joe Noteboom and his reps to "try to figure out a win-win" financial situation to come back.

"Just because he's been a valuable piece for us in terms of whether he's been a starter, but let's call it a really good sixth man," Snead said, pointing out that Noteboom played both tackle spots and guard at different times last season.

Viable backup quarterback remains a need

After head coach Sean McVay last week said the team doesn't have a backup quarterback on the roster, Snead on Wednesday said they want to make sure they have a quarterback who can win them a game if they ever have to play one without starter Matthew Stafford.

Snead indicated the flexibility provided by the Rams' cap space this year will give them the opportunity to sign one, unlike last year. He said not having one "did come back to hurt us definitely one game last year," alluding to their game against the Packers before the bye week.

"I think this year, different than last year based on salary cap, could allow us to maybe do a veteran QB," Snead said. "Doesn't mean you don't go with a younger QB as a third, or does he earn the (number) two (spot), but that flexibility with the cap does allow us to do that."

Higbee had knee surgery

Snead confirmed Higbee has had surgery to repair the knee injury he sustained in the Rams' wild-card playoff game against the Lions, but said the timeline for his return is still undetermined.

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