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With Chris Long, James Laurinaitis And Jared Cook Gone, How Does The Depth Chart Look For The LA Rams?

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Who slides up the depth chart in their absence?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

With the news that the Los Angeles Rams have released DE Chris Long, MLB James Laurinaitis and TE Jared Cook, how does that affect the depth chart at those three positions? Let's take a look at each.

Defensive End

The 2015 St. Louis Rams rolled with a familiar foursome of Long, Robert Quinn, Eugene Sims and William Hayes atop the position chart. Of those four, only Quinn remains under contract. There's depth in Matt Longacre with Ethan Westbrooks offering some versatility between DE and DT.

Clearly though, this puts more pressure on the Rams to likely re-sign either Hayes or Sims unless the front office is comfortable digging into free agency or the draft. For a team that has prioritized defensive line strength, to head into FA or rely on the middle or late rounds of the draft seems unlikely.

If there's any comfort here, it's that Quinn is signed through the 2019 season after extending his deal back in 2014.

Middle Linebacker

This one's looking scant as well. The team lists Daren Bates, Bryce Hager and Cameron Lynch at MLB (in that order), though all three played more special teams than anything in 2015. Laurinaitis only missed two defensive snaps all year while Bates picked up just 27 and Lynch a pair. Hager didn't see the field on defense last season.

Bates, though, is a restricted free agent so we'll have to see how that plays out.

Tight End

The Rams locked up Lance Kendricks last year through 2018, so there's still a mainstay to lean on for the time being. Given that he was involved in perhaps the most infuriating play of the year, I'm not sure how confident that makes Rams fans about the position. Cory Harkey is listed as a tight end, but he's more of a fullback or H-back than a traditional tight end. And Justice Cunningham bounced between the active roster and the practice squad in 2015.