The Los Angeles Rams have done a good job this season of getting the most value out of low value players. With all eyes set on the 2024 and 2025 seasons, the Rams didn’t and haven’t invested a lot of big contracts to 2023.
Not only have the Rams gotten good value out of their draft picks such as Kobie Turner and Byron Young, but also the few players that they did sign as additions. One of those players being cornerback Ahkello Withspoon. ESPN’s Aaron Schatz recently went through every team’s roster to find the best veteran contract and value deals for each team. For the Rams, Schatz noted Withspoon. Said Schatz,
“The Rams had questions in their secondary going into this season, but signing veteran Witherspoon to a one-year contract in June helped solve them. The former 49ers and Steelers starter has held down the left cornerback position for the Rams all season and is a big reason the Rams rank 10th in DVOA on passes to the right side. Witherspoon has started all 11 games — his first season of double-digit starts since 2018 — and ranks 13th in DVOA per coverage snap among cornerbacks with at least 200 coverage snaps (through Week 10). According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he has allowed a low 50.8% completion rate in coverage.”
It’s hard to argue with Schatz’s assessment. Withspoon’s remaining contract of just $940k accounts for just 0.4 percent of the team’s cap space. This season, the Rams ranked last in the league in defensive cash spending, but have found value with the money that they have spent.
Witherspoon has been a pleasant surprise and is certainly a player that the Rams will have to consider extending this upcoming offseason. He’s been their best cornerback on the roster and been a veteran presence that they desperately needed in a young group.
This season, Witherspoon has allowed a reception on just 48.2 percent of his targets which is the third best in the NFL among cornerbacks with at least 300 snaps. He’s also tied for sixth in the NFL with seven pass breakups. According to Pro Football Focus, Witherspoon’s 73.8 passer rating allowed ranks 14th.
One of the biggest concerns for the Rams coming into the season was their secondary. A lot of this was because the team traded away Jalen Ramsey and didn’t select anybody with any of their higher draft picks.
Withspoon has played a key role on the Rams defense this season. He’s responsible for four of the team’s nine turnovers.
With approximately a projected $70M in cap space this offseason, it will be interesting to see if the Rams do bring back Witherspoon and how much more they are willing to pay him.