Update: In addition to keeping Johnny Hekker, the Rams managed to trade Corey Bojorquez to the Packers for some compensation
The Los Angeles Rams will not release punter Johnny Hekker on Tuesday, and are instead parting ways with the Corey Bojorquez in spite of the 2021 free agent signing having a scene-stealing performance in the preseason finale last Saturday.
Michael Gehlken of Dallas Morning News reported that Hekker also restructured his contract to stay with the Rams.
If Cowboys were monitoring the Rams’ punter situation to see if Johnny Hekker would become available, little now to see. He restructured his contract and will remain in Los Angeles, sources said. Bryan Anger looks locked into Week 1 punter job for Dallas.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 31, 2021
The move to release Hekker would have saved the Rams about $2.6 million, but keeping Bojorquez would have also cost $1 million for a net savings of only $1.6 million. McVay said previously that there would be no competition at punter, but Bojorquez consistently impressed during training camp and the preseason, eventually starring in the finale against the Broncos in Denver: a 70-yard punt, a 67-yard punt, and two punts that pinned the Broncos at their one 1-yard line.
However, it was not enough for Bojorquez to push out a punter who Les Snead said during the game’s broadcast on Saturday is on a “Hall of Fame” trajectory.
At this time, there has been no official announcement that Bojorquez has been released, but he’s not practicing on Tuesday and clearly the team will only keep one.
Hekker has not had as many accolades in the last three years, but that has partly to do with LA’s success under McVay: Hekker averaged nearly 30 more punts per season under Jeff Fisher than he has with McVay running the show. A better offense means fewer opportunities for Hekker to boom like he booms best.
Hekker’s most recent all-pro or Pro Bowl appearance came back in 2017 and the last three years were not nearly as impactful as the beginning of his career and that includes a blocked punt in each of the last two seasons, after Hekker had only one blocked punt in his first seven campaigns. But there’s risk in releasing a great punter who is only 31, as Hekker could potentially play at least another decade in the league.
He’ll play at least one more of those years with the Rams, but Tuesday’s decision to keep him could indicate that LA plans for him to be around for the long haul.
As to Bojorquez, it is amazing that Les Snead managed to get some compensation for a PUNTER that he signed in late April. Bojorquez cost the Rams nothing and will now be punting for Green Bay.