Meet Demetrius Rhaney: Rams Backup is Ready To Assume The Starting Center Job

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Demetrius Rhaney was selected by the Rams in the seventh round (250th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. He impressed NFL scouts at Tennessee State University Pro-day in almost all of his categories of workouts.  He recorded 24 reps in the bench press, leaped 29” inches in the vertical jump, at 6’2″ 300lbs, he turned heads at the TSU Pro Day when he clocked a 4.89 seconds in the 40-yard dash and a shuttle time at 4.72 seconds. He started 11 games at center, on a offensive line that helped earn an at-large berth to the FCS Playoffs.


As a child Rhaney was inspired to play football by his parents and grandparents. Rhaney lost his mother, Veronica Dixon to a unexpected illness when he was in seventh grade. Since his mother death he has played the game with a chip on his shoulder and shutdown his doubters. 


Rhaney rookie season would come to an end before it would even get started. According to reports he had an serious injury to his ankle, but it was never was disclosed if it was from ligaments tear or from a broken ankle. He was place on the PUP/IR by the Rams for his rookie season. 


Rhaney’s second NFL season in 2015, he would be involved with a devastated battle with Tim Barnes and Barrett Jones for the Rams’ starting center job. When the 53-man roster was released on the final cut downs, the Rams surprised many when they waived their former 4th round draft choice Barrett Jones in favor of Rhaney and Barnes. Barnes would be named the starter, having many questioning the move by the Rams coaches.


Rhaney’s third season, Barnes would already be penciled in as the starter, however Rhaney had more competition to fight with against Brian Folkerts and Eric Kush for the back up center job. Kush seemed to be not only a lock but also was a fan favorite after starring on Hard Knocks that featured the recently relocated Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles. Rhaney had the upper hand because the Rams drafted him the prior season. Rhaney, is depth along the interior of the line, because of his versatility he can also play guard as well as special teams. The Rams surprisingly released Kush in favor or Rhaney and Barnes, when many expected that Barnes would be released for Kush. 


Demetrius is solid on the interior line, with his athleticism and hard work for this team, perhaps he finally be given a shot of becoming the starting center for the Rams when the new regime of coaches is hired. At worst, he is depth along an offensive line, and he will continue to excel at special teams, but with the poor play of Tim Barnes, the position is wide open for him to lock down and hold for several years.


Rhaney will be entering his fourth season with the Rams of a contract that he signed 4 years ago of $2,265,896, including a $45,896 signing bonus. $45,896 of that contract was guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $566,474. In 2016, Rhaney earned a base salary of $600,000. Rhaney has a cap hit of $611,474 while his dead money value is $22,948. Say no more, Rhaney has paid his dues as a backup and special teams, it is now time for him be rewarded with the starting center job. The Rams should be able to lock Rhaney with a one-year prove it deal for about $2 million or sign him to a new 3 year deal of about $9-$11 million.


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