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ESPN's Bill Barnwell Grades the Los Angeles Rams Offseason

What grade would you give the Rams for their offseason thus far?

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ESPN's Bill Barnwell has doled out grades to every NFL team based on their offseason activity. His grade for the Rams? Not the best...

Here's an excerpt, but you should definitely check the link:

What Went Right

They moved on from inflated deals for veteran contributors. It's tempting to hold onto players who have been franchise cornerstones, but the Rams were probably smart to draw a line and move on from Chris Long, James Laurinaitis and Jared Cook. (Well, two franchise cornerstones.)


What Went Wrong

They traded a bounty of draft picks for Jared Goff.


It's unclear whether the move will work, but we know that deals like this work out far less frequently than the teams who trade up think they do. You can make a case that the Rams are better positioned to deal with the pain of missing out on cheap contributors than most -- Mike Sando elaborated on that for Insider -- but even if Goff turns out to be great, there are going to be holes up and down this roster preventing Los Angeles from building a dominant team around their new quarterback.

They retained Jeff Fisher. The Goff trade feels like a team incurring the moral hazard of executives who want to keep their jobs. Going after a young quarterback extends the timeline for a front office that might very well have been fired after this season, let alone another middling campaign with Keenum at the helm. As I noted in December, Fisher is the first head coach to post four consecutive seasons without a winning record and retain his job since ... he did the same thing in Tennessee in 1998. I don't think Fisher consciously made the Goff deal trying to justify a few extra years on the job. I'm sure he made the move thinking he wanted a franchise quarterback and knowing how hard those can be to come by. But struggling organizations deal with this all the time, and given how Fisher's tenure had produced consistently middling results, it was probably time for him to go.

They spent an exorbitant sum on Mark Barron.


Barron has played a little more than a half-season in that role for the Rams, and they're paying him as if he's a superstar. The five-year, $45 million deal the Rams gave Barron guarantees him $20 million and pays him a whopping $29 million over its first three years. I can't criticize the Rams as much for turning down his fifth-year option the offseason prior, given that Barron switched positions in the meantime, but this is an awful lot to invest in a guy who hasn't played at a high level for the vast majority of his professional career.


Grade: C

I don't think Barnwell's all that far off base with any of this. I think the bigger problem is that his second point on "what went wrong" and the larger issue it signifies (the Rams being a stagnant franchise under Fisherball) makes the other two points loom larger.

A healthier franchise might be able to incorporate the risks of the Goff trade better. A franchise that might have shown growth in the last four seasons could justify spending on a piece like Barron with less criticism.

Without a winning season, everything behind the stained glass window of Fisherball takes on a different hue. Good decision look "ok." Questionable ones look bad. And Jared Cook-level signings...look, don't put that evil on me.

The bottom line is that the Rams have to play their way into a point where things aren't looking worse than they are.

And they've got nobody to blame on this but themselves...that is as long as Jeff Fisher's in charge.