Free agency is not a fix. Bandaids do not heal bullet holes.
The 2016 Los Angeles Rams left a 4-12 record on the table with developing roster needs with more impact than at any time since the 2012 NFL Draft with the worse offense in the NFL powered by the rookie QB they traded up to take #1 overall going 0-7 with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft washed out to Nashville in the process. Not good.
So when the Rams hired new Head Coach Sean McVay, it was the beginning of what will be a long process if successful to turn this franchise around. The last week of free agency is one of the very early stages of that process, and even that shouldn’t be looked at as a 100% certainty to work out well. Even casual Rams fans who have paid limited attention to the franchise in the last two years should be cautious about assuming that every signing will pan out. The likelihood that LT Andrew Whitworth, WR Robert Woods and CB Kayvon Webster all live up to billing is below 100%. Well below.
So it shouldn’t surprise that in a new set of power rankings from NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison, the Rams don’t rank very highly. At all. In fact, they’re all the way down at #28:
Loved the Andrew Whitworth signing. Robert Woods was also a sneaky cool add, even if the price was a tad high. After that? Not much. Kenny Britt has been a punchline for the fantasy football Twitterverse for like five years now, yet he was the only dude that had any punch in the Rams' passing attack last season -- and now he's in Cleveland. The William Hayes trade? Perplexing. Perhaps there was a locker-room issue, or maybe it was a salary dump. Either way, even Hayes was shocked at how little the team got for him, saying he "got traded today for a stapler and a coffee machine." Dude, but was it a little red stapler?
The real question for me isn’t whether the Rams should be near the bottom, but how near. Is 28 too low? Should free agency have bumped them ahead of teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills? What about the Cincinnati Bengals who provided Whitworth to the Rams and lost G Kevin Zeitler to free agency as well after a 6-9-1 season?
The road to perdition was not fun. The way out probably won’t be either. Kicking the Sean McVay era off as a bottom five team is asking a lot of any first-time head coach, let alone the youngest head coach in NFL history.
The question is if that’s really what McVay’s being handed. At least one long-time NFL analyst thinks so.