Arguably the biggest need on the Los Angeles Rams roster right now is at the edge rusher position. While the Rams have seen some promise from rookie Byron Young and Ochaun Mathis made his debut last week, it’s clear that Michael Hoecht isn’t getting the job done on the other side.
On Friday, the Denver Broncos officially released edge rusher Frank Clark who they acquired just this past offseason in free agency according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Clark had previously been cut by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Separation official: Denver is releasing Frank Clark in the same week he gave back $1.7 million to help create this scenario.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 13, 2023
Clark played two games with the Broncos after signing with them this off-season; he joins Randy Gregory as the 2nd pass rusher in a week to leave Denver.
The Broncos are in a bit of a state of turmoil and seemingly no player is safe. Last week, Denver allegedly cut and then actually traded Randy Gregory to the San Francisco 49ers. The team is also reportedly looking to trade wide receiver Jerry Jeudy among others.
It’s fair to wonder whether or not the Rams may be looking to upgrade at edge rusher and sign Clark once he clears waivers now that he has been released.
The Rams have been pretty clear all offseason that they’re not just going to bring in anybody at the edge rusher position. Trevis Gipson was cut by the Chicago Bears following the preseason and Los Angeles didn’t put a claim in for him. Jadeveon Clowney was signed by the Baltimore Ravens and Justin Houston went to the Carolina Panthers. In fact, the Rams might just stand pat altogether.
There are two parts to this question? Should the Rams sign Frank Clark? Absolutely. They have the cap space to bring him in for the rest of the year and he’d be a clear upgrade over Michael Hoecht. Clark had five sacks last season with the Chiefs and has over 50 pressures in each of the last two seasons.
However, the other part of this question is will they sign Clark? As noted by the reasoning above, the answer to that question is likely a resounding no. In 36 snaps with the Broncos this season, Clark hasn’t recorded a single pressure. Not only that, it’s pretty clear that the Rams want to give the young edge rushers that they do have on the roster as many opportunities as possible. Last week, we saw Ochaun Mathis get an opportunity and Young has shown promise. It makes sense to keep getting those guys live-game reps.
It’s also worth noting Frank Clark’s legal history. In 2015, Clark reportedly told a hotel manager that he hit his girlfriend after an altercation that led to his arrest. According to ESPN, in the police report, Clark’s girlfriend said he punched her in the face after an altercation.
In March of 2021, Clark was arrested on a gun charge during a routine traffic stop in Los Angeles. Officers recovered two loaded firearms from the vehicle. According to NBC Sports, Clark was arrested three months later for felony illegal possession of a firearm as Police spotted an Uzi inside an open duffle bag in his car.
Clark simply doesn’t fit the current team-build or culture that the Rams are trying to implement within a young roster. The Rams also may not fit what Clark wants as he’s likely trying to join a contender. That’s simply not the Rams.
While the Rams desperately need an edge rusher, it’s unlikely that the player that fills that need is Frank Clark.