And while the totality of the moves has the Rams set up wonderfully for 2018, there are major issues coming down the pipe as soon as the season ends. Perhaps nothing demonstrates that moreso than the sheer size of the list of impending free agents in a year’s time:
2019 LA Rams Free Agents
|Brandin Cooks||WR||UFA||Re-signed, 5-yr, $80m|
|Todd Gurley||RB||UFA (option)||Re-signed, 4-yr, $60m|
|Marcus Peters||CB||UFA (option)||Optioned|
That’s 16 unrestricted free agents not counting RB Just Todd Gurley who is all but certain to get a fifth-year option by the May 3 deadline. Of that 16 though, you’ve got key starters on offense (RG Jamon Brown, WR Brandin Cooks, RT Rob Havenstein, LG Rodger Saffold) and on defense (DL Aaron Donald, S Lamarcus Joyner, DL Ndamukong Suh) as well as core depth especially on the defensive side.
There is, of course, no way to retain all of these players. Such was the case a year ago and it led to an offseason in which the Rams bid farewell to CB Trumaine Johnson and WR Sammy Watkins through free agency while trading away ILB Alec Ogletree and OLB Robert Quinn. It could well see a similar exodus next year.
And like the 2016 NFL Draft, the 2017 NFL Draft and the 2018 NFL Draft, the 2019 NFL Draft will see the Rams bring in a reduced class. The trade for CB Marcus Peters saw the Rams send their second-round pick from next year head to the Kansas City Chiefs in addition to a fourth-round selection from this year. So the ability to backfill positions through the draft has already been lessened.
The sheer scope of the decisions is ridiculous, but only made so because of the position the Rams are in. With QB Jared Goff, Gurley and Donald all still on rookie deals as well as Peters and Cooks, the Rams have been able to spend money elsewhere and put together a ridiculously talented roster.
It is in the end an untenable situation. The Rams have loaded up for 2018. They might well need to make the absolute most of if this season if only because the degree of difficulty of what lies ahead for VP/COO Kevin Demoff, Senior Assistant Tony Pastoors and General Manager Les Snead could be greater than that of every other NFL team.