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Andrew Whitworth will sign with Rams, bolstering their offensive line

The most talented free agent offensive lineman is no longer on the market.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

You can’t put a price tag on an elite left tackle, and the Rams know it. They now have one of the NFL’s best left tackles after signing former Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth.

The Rams have the “framework” for a deal with the talented tackle, according to Whitworth’s agency, SportsTrust Advisors.

With multiple quality starters hitting the free agent market, Cincinnati didn’t seem to feel keeping Whitworth, a 35-year-old tackle, around was a priority, having a succession plan already in place. It will now be up to third-year tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, a first-round pick in 2015, to replace the longtime starter.

The transition will certainly be difficult for both Ogbuehi and his team, as the tackle struggled in his first season starting. Additionally, this will be Ogbuehi’s first full NFL offseason, after the tackle missed the 2015 offseason recovering from an injury suffered in college.

In Whitworth, the Rams are getting a guy who is pretty much Joe Thomas, just without the name recognition. Whitworth has been one of the NFL’s best left tackles over the past few seasons, giving up just four sacks over the past three years. Last year, he didn’t surrender a single sack.

Whitworth also has the versatility to kick in at the left guard position if need be — he did so in 2013 when former Bengals teammate Clint Boling went down with an injury. The quintessential teammate, Whitworth always seems to do what is asked of him and is capable of leading a team, whether vocally or by stepping back to let the QB lead.