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2016 Rams Roster Preview: RB Tre Mason’s Absenteeism May Go Way Beyond OTA's

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It’s quite possible we’ve seen the last of Tre Mason in a Rams’ uniform.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In the final game of the 2015 NFL season, Los Angeles Rams’ running back Tre Mason got just his third start of the year. In that game - against the 49ers - he saw 18 carries, ran for 44 yards (2.4 ypc), and had one rushing touchdown (his lone score on the year). The 18 touches marked a single game season-high, and accounted for nearly 25% of his handoffs on the year.

#Yikes

Following the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, in which the Rams’ selected Todd Gurley, I think we all (including Mason) knew it was only a matter of time until he lost the starting gig. But I’m not sure any of us (including Mason) were prepared for the drastic drop-off in touches and production.

And that brings us to the 2016 offseason, where Gurley is healthy, with a full season under his belt, and being discussed as a potential candidate for the league’s rushing title. Contrarily, discussion about Mason is whether or not Week 17 of the 2015 season was the last time he’d be seen in a Rams’ uniform.

Roster Battle

At this point, with Mason having missed the entirety of OTA’s following an arrest on March 5 of this year, it’s difficult to continue viewing Mason as the RB2 for this team.

It certainly shouldn’t be assumed.

A slew of young UDFA running backs (Benny Cunningham, Malcolm Brown, Aaron Green and the recently-acquired Terrence Magee) were all on the field last month getting meaningful reps with the offense. Mason’s 75 carries in 2015 can be easily replaced by any of the aforementioned youngsters, and, at 2.8 yards a clip, easily improved upon.

Mason’s job is up for grabs, making the offseason competition as Gurley’s primary backup that much more intriguing.

Expectations

Not much. A suspension of some magnitude, and a very good shot at trying out for a new team.

Minimally, less carries, less yards, and, in all likelihood, one less touchdown.

Chances of Making the Final Roster (3/10)

I think I’m being generous here, because I no longer think Mason adds any value to this team.

I’m positive they can find a way to replace 2.8 ypc with one of their other backs; to include Tavon Austin, who - with 23 less carries than Mason - rushed for 434 yds (8.3 ypc), and four touchdowns last year. Sadly, having seen how other seemingly useless RB’s have lingered around unnecessarily in year’s past, I fear Jeff Fisher may still think Mason can be a contributor on this team.

That said, Fisher had this to say to the media following one of the team’s OTA sessions

In our minds, we just have to prepare ourselves that Tre’s not going to be here.

Well, you get to make those decisions, Jeff. And maybe you already have. Let’s cut bait, take the $318,750 hit in dead money, and give these UDFA’s a go at it.

Yes.

Yes, I am.