Although the Sean McVay “will he/won’t he” drama continues to take up all the air surrounding the the Los Angeles Rams, the front office is still on the clock. On Monday, they announced the signing of nine players to 2023/24 reserve/future contracts.
Reserve/futures contracts do not count towards the salary cap for the current season and takes effect on the first day of the new NFL year, March 15. 2023, the first day teams can expand their rosters to the 90 man limit. Players signing these contracts cannot be on an active NFL roster and are tied to the Rams until given their release. They may not be pursued by opposing teams until released. Value of the contracts are normally at the league minimum ($750k in 2023), not guaranteed, and getting a signing bonus is rare.
While the moves are not going to move the needle much on upgrading the roster, building the bottom half of the training camp roster is necessary work. These contracts are not truly meant for signing veteran players of substance, but rather, stocking the shelves with young guys who have shown some developmental traits and talent. The Rams, under McVay, have targeted players on their own practice squad rather than risk losing them to opposing teams. Last year L.A. signed 14 players off their practice squad and inked 18 in 2021.
Keeping those numbers in mind, it would seem that the Rams will sign a few more players, but with the injury situation this season and having to keep the active roster fully stocked, there just aren’t many additions left on the practice squad to choose from. Only Case Cookus (QB), Khalil Davis (DT), Jeremiah Kolone (OL), Lance Lenoir (WR), and Brock Miller (P) remain.
Here are the Rams first reserve/futures contract signees
Roger Carter- tight end
Signed as an undrafted free agent (UDFA) in 2022. Carter doesn’t have typical size at 6’ 2” 250 lbs. Was a three-time All-Sunbelt Conference player at Georgia State. He was active for one game and played one offensive and 11 special teams snaps.
Richard LeCounte- safety
Joined the Rams practice squad in December. LeCounte measures in at 5’ 10 1/2” and 196 lbs. Played college ball at Georgia and is similar to Rams draftee Derion Kendrick, a good tight area player who struggles to stay to stay with speedy players.
Max Pircher- tackle
Entering his third season in L.A., Pircher began his NFL career as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. He stands 6’ 7” 300 lbs. and has seen playing time in preseason games, but is yet to be active in the regular season.
TJ Carter- defensive tackle
Before signing with the Rams, Carter had bounced between the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints (two stints), Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Michigan Panthers of the USFL. Went to school at Kentucky and is 6’ 4” 289 lbs. He was active in two games and had 10 snaps, five on offense and five on special teams.
Jaquarli Roberson- wide receiver
Roberson came out of Wake Forest with good speed, 4.43 in the forty and adequate size at 6’ 1” 186 lbs. He went undrafted and spent stints with Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Buffalo Bills before landing in L.A. last November.
Jerreth Sterns- wide receiver
Smallish wide out at 5’ 7” 183 lbs. out of Western Kentucky. Was college football’s season leader in receptions, yardage, and touchdowns in 2021. Joined the Rams practice squad in December and was not active in any games.
Brayden Thomas- edge
Power guy off the edge and built like the old-school defensive ends at 6’3” 280 lbs. Played for three different college programs before signing with L.A. as a UDFA after the 2022 draft. He was active in one game and played four offensive and 14 special teams reps.
Zach VanValkenberg- edge
6’ 4” 267 lbs. During his college career, he moved up from D2 to Iowa Hawkeyes. Originally signed by Las Vegas Raiders as an UDFA behind the 2022 draft. The Rams signed him to the practice squad last September.
TJ Carter- safety
The second TJ Carter came to L.A.’s squad as a UDFA in 2022. He played college ball at Memphis and TCU and measures in at 5’ 11” 193 lbs. He was active in one game with four defensive snaps, 14 more on special teams and recorded one tackle.