NFC West Preview - Los Angeles Rams
Biggest Additions: Matt Stafford QB, DeSean Jackson WR, retaining Leonard Floyd DE
Biggest Losses: John Johnson S, Jared Goff QB, Troy Hill CB, Austin Blythe C, Samson Ebukam DE, Gerald Everett TE, Michael Brockers DT
Top Draft Needs: DL, CB, S, OG
I have never seen a team care less about 1st round picks and be willing to take on dead money more than the Rams. After signing both Todd Gurley and Jared Goff to MASSIVE contracts they cut and trade each of them. I honestly have never seen a team operate the way the rams do. Overcommit far too early to players that many see as risky then cut their ties costing the team 1st round picks and a ton of dead money to the cap. As a 49ers fan, I love the bad decision-making and glad it seems to be a consistent thing from them.
I do think Stafford is an upgrade over Goff, but I don’t think he is a guy that makes them a top Super Bowl contender. He is a 32-year-old QB who just two years ago suffered a season-ending back injury, and oh yeah, has never won a playoff game in 12 years. I get a lot of those Lions teams weren’t the best but to never even win one? Come on, Tim Tebow even won one! If he is so great you would imagine one year, they could win a wildcard game with the likes of Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh in their prime.
As problematic as not having a first-round pick until 2024 is, I think the biggest loss for them came on how many key contributors they lost on defense. John Johnson a team captain and just all-around stud is a major loss in the secondary. Top that with starting slot corner Troy Hill also going to the Browns and a dominant secondary is looking slim besides Jalen Ramsey. Now Aaron Donald is still Aaron Donald, and that defense will be tough especially since they were able to keep Leonard Floyd. But I was surprised to see them trade Brockers for just a 7th round pick. Brockers is a really good player and I get the cap came into play here but that’s what happens when Goff accounts for a 20 million dead cap hit, Stafford's cap hit costs them another 20 million, and oh yeah let’s not forget Gurley dead cap hit for this year is over 8 million. Overall, a poorly managed team by Les Snead who seems to only get better at making bad decisions each year.
Even though they had many losses on the defensive side of the ball I expect them to go offense line with their first pick in the draft which is in round 2 #57 overall. In a deep class for OL they could be looking at dominate interior lineman such as Creed Humphrey out of Oklahoma or Lance Dickerson out of Alabama. From there they can use their two 3rd round picks (one a compensatory pick) on more OL depth and secondary which got depleted during free agency.
Verdict: 3rd place in the NFC West and only because Sean McVay is still a good coach even though he can never beat the 49ers no matter who is at QB.