The Los Angeles Rams 2022 season did not go as planned. With chants of ‘run it back’ in February, the Rams finished 5-12 and with more uncertainty than ever. They have new coaches that will hopefully help the offensive improve while Raheem Morris returns for a third season.
These are just two of several questions that the Rams will have heading into the 2023 offseason. While some of 2022 can be blamed on injuries, it certainly wasn’t the only reason for the Rams’ misfortunes. They’ll have a lot of holes to fill and minimal assets to do it.
This is a team without a first round pick in the upcoming draft and currently $15M over the cap.
Below, I’ll attempt to predict how the Rams will approach the next few months by laying out a full-scale mock offseason that includes potential extensions, free agency signings, and draft picks, all while keeping a running log of the team’s cap space.
Los Angeles Rams Salary Cap Room, before the NFL Combine: ~ -$15 million
Current Los Angeles Rams depth chart (practice squad and IR included)
QB – Matthew Stafford, Baker Mayfield, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins
RB – Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, Ronnie Rivers, Malcolm Brown
WR – Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson, TuTu Atwell, Ben Skowronek, Brandon Powell, Lance McCutcheon, Jacob Harris, Austin Trammell, Jaquarii Roberson, Jerreth Sterns
TE – Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins, Roger Carter, Jared Pinkney
RT – Rob Havenstein, Max Pircher
LT – Joe Noteboom, Alaric Jackson, Tremayne Anchrum, AJ Arcuri, Ty Nsekhe
RG – Logan Bruss, Chandler Brewer, Oday Aboushi, Zach Thomas
LG – David Edwards, Matt Skura
C – Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Jeremiah Kolone
DE – Aaron Donald, Marquise Copeland, Jonah Williams, Larrell Murchison, Earnest Brown IV, TJ Carter, Khalil Davis, Zach VanValkenburg
NT – A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, Bobby Brown III
OLB – Leonard Floyd, Michael Hoecht, Daniel Hardy, Keir Thomas, Brayden Thomas
ILB – Ernest Jones, Bobby Wagner, Travis Howard, Christian Rozeboom, Jake Hummel, Jake Gervase
CB – Jalen Ramsey, Cobie Durant, Troy Hill, Derion Kendrick, David Long, Robert Rochell, Grant Haley, TJ Carter, Shaun Jolly, Richard LeCounte III
S – Jordan Fuller, Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott, Russ Yeast, Quentin Lake
P – Riley Dixon, Brock Miller
K – Matt Gay
LS – Matthew Orzech
*Note: The offseason salary cap uses the team’s top 51 cap hits, which factors into how much cap room new contracts will take off the books. For example, if the Rams sign a player that has a $1 million cap hit, you subtract the 51st-highest cap hit (e.g. $500,000) from the $1 million, equaling an additional ~$500,000 on this year’s cap from the new contract. All contract information comes from Over The Cap and Spotrac.
Rams’ top needs: EDGE, LT, C, G, S, CB, RB, TE, QB
Work the Cap
Restructure Jalen Ramsey
This is a must this offseason. A base salary restructure would save the Rams $10M. That gets the Rams within to around $-4.6M in cap space. This isn’t a team that has obvious cap casualties. Therefore, restructures are going to be the way to go.
Restructure Cooper Kupp
This is the year to restructure Kupp. Prorating Kupp’s base salary into a signing bonus would save the Rams approximately $10M. The Rams need to open up some money if they’re going to sign free agents. Restructuring Kupp is the best way to do that.
Restructure Leonard Floyd
The Rams can cut Leonard Floyd post June-1 and save close to $15M. However, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to cut the only viable edge rusher on the roster. The Rams can create around $7M in cap space by restructuring Floyd’s contract.
Restructure Aaron Donald
It’s important for the Rams to take advantage of their window with Donald on the roster. With the uncertainty regarding Donald’s future, it makes sense to restructure his contract and convert some of his base salary into a signing bonus. This would save the Rams about $7M and help put them in good shape heading into the offseason.
Restructure Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner continued to play like one of the top linebackers in the NFL last season. If that hadn’t been the case, I’m not sure the Rams would do this. However, with Wagner still playing well, they can restructure and worry about the rest later.
Trade Joe Noteboom
Finding a trade partner for Noteboom could be difficult. However, it’s not that often that a starting caliber offensive lineman becomes available. The Rams should be able to swap draft picks or get a conditional 7th round pick for Noteboom. This move would save the Rams around $7.5M whereas cutting him only saves around $2.5M.
Running Cap Total: $30.4M
There are other things that the Rams could do to save money such as cutting Tyler Higbee, trading Allen Robinson, among other moves. However, with no tight end options on the roster, cutting Higbee doesn’t make a lot of sense and it’s unlikely a team will take on Allen Robinson’s contract.
Stay or Go: Impending Los Angeles Rams Free Agents
*Note: Contract numbers are based on market values set by Pro Football Focus and Spotrac.
Place ERFA Tender on Marquise Copeland
The Rams really like what Marquise Copeland brings to the table. To bring him back on the league minimum is a bargain.
Place ERFA Tender on Michael Hoecht
Hoecht showed what he could do as an edge rusher at the end of last season. Again, to get a contributor like Hoecht at league minimum is a really good deal.
Place ERFA Tender on Bryce Perkins
Whether or not the Rams keep three quarterbacks on the roster can be debated. However, it would not be surprising for the Rams to at least bring him in to training camp to compete for the backup quarterback role.
Place ERFA Tender on Travin Howard
Travin Howard spent last season hurt. As depth behind Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones, the Rams will look to bring him back at league minimum.
Place ERFA Tender on Christian Rozeboom
Rozeboom has done a good job on special teams over the last two years. As someone with experience on the roster, the Rams should at least bring him in to compete in training camp.
Re-Sign LG David Edwards
Contract: one year, $2.5M
Estimated 2023 cap-hit: $2.5M
The Rams absolutely cannot make the same mistake three times when it comes to the guard position. In 2019 they allowed Rodger Saffold to walk in free agency. In 2022, they allowed Austin Corbett to walk in free agency.
Edwards will be coming off of a concussion-filled season. That should allow the Rams to bring him back on a one-year deal that’s team-friendly. At the end of the day, Edwards is a starting caliber guard.
Let A’Shawn Robinson, Baker Mayfield, Taylor Rapp, Greg Gaines, Troy Hill, Nick Scott, Riley Dixon, Ty Nsekhe, Brandon Powell, Matt Skura, Malcolm Brown, David Long, Matthew Orzech, Grant Haley, John Wolford, Jake Gervase, and Shaun Jolly hit free agency.
It’s going to be difficult for the Rams to do a lot in free agency and that applies to bringing back some of their own. It wouldn’t be surprising if they try to bring back guys like Matt Gay, Troy Hill, Nick Scott, or Greg Gaines. However, at the end of the day, those guys may end up being too expensive.
Gaines has a market value of $7M. It seems unlikely that the Rams would pay that amount to retain him. Matt Gay is in that same conversation. He’ll likely cost $5.5M which may be out of the Rams’ price range.
Draft pick allotment
Before the Los Angeles Rams dive headfirst into free agency, we need to account for how much their 2023 draft class and the signing bonuses for undrafted free agents will count against the cap. After looking at the money tied to each selection that the Rams have they will need to set aside $7-8M. We set the draft allotment at $9 million, just in case.
Rams’ Salary Cap room before free agency: ~14.25M
Unrestricted free agency
*Begins March 15 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Sign RG Nate Herbig
Contract: Two years, $5.5M (2M guaranteed)
Estimated 2023 cap-hit: $2.5M
The Rams need to add depth on the interior. Herbig has over 1500 career snaps at right guard for the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles. He’s a little larger than the Rams typically go for at 330 pounds, but his 18 pressures allowed last season were just one fewer than Elgton Jenkins. His experience with new Rams offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur should help.
Really good job by everyone but Nate Herbig (#65) is the key here. Outstanding work and MC gets to waltz into the end zone.#TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/oxedYwGESg— David Wyatt-Hupton (@DWyattHupton) November 6, 2022
With Herbig, the Rams could play Edwards at left guard, Coleman Shelton at center, and then their new free agent at right guard. There are some questions about Edwards at left guard from a heath standpoint after last year, but this would be a trio with upside.
Sign LT Andre Dillard
Contract: Two years, $18.5 ($10M guaranteed)
Estimated 2023 cap-hit: $8M
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Rams went after one of the tier two/three tackles in free agency. Andre Dillard fits the Rams profile of offensive lineman. He didn’t work out in Philly as he was nothing more than a swing tackle. However, sometimes all a player needs is a change in scenery.
We got our first look at Andre Dillard as the #Eagles starter at LT and I was impressed with what we saw. We know about his feet, but Dillard's quick hands showed up this week and last week as well. Shout out to @BigDuke50 for this one nugget I got from a chat this summer pic.twitter.com/GxuA0LGO2K— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) October 22, 2019
Dillard is a former first round pick who has good feet and lateral quickness. He has experience at guard and tackle. In 2021, Dillard played over 300 snaps at left tackle for the Eagles. His 20 pressures ranked 23rd and he gave up just one sack.
Sign QB Mike White
Contract: One year, $2M ($1.25M guaranteed)
Estimated 2023 cap-hit: $2M
The Rams need a backup quarterback and it’s unlikely that White returns to the Jets. They are all in on signing a veteran and having Zach Wilson sit behind him after a poor 2022. From the Rams perspective, Mayfield will likely be looking for a starting role somewhere and wouldn’t return for $2M.
White has experience in LaFleur’s system and played well in it as a backup. If Stafford were to get injured, the Rams would have someone they could trust to run the offense.
Sign CB Isaiah Oliver
Contract: One Year + One Void Year, $4.75M ($2M guaranteed)
Estimated 2023 cap-hit: $1.5M
The Rams lost Troy Hill and Davi Long and will need to replace them. One player on the free agent market who is intriguing as a nickel cornerback that can also play outside is Isaiah Oliver. Oliver has experience with Raheem Morris from his time in Atlanta. It was Morris that tried Oliver inside in the slot and had success.
#Falcons DB coach Raheem Morris has taken to calling CB Isaiah Oliver "The Blanket." Why do you call him the blanket,? Morris said, " 'cause he wraps people up."— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) December 19, 2019
Oliver is someone that Morris was fond of with the Falcons. If the Rams can make it work financially, it wouldn’t be a shock if they tried to bring him to Los Angeles.
2023 NFL Draft
*Draft simulation completed using Mock Draft Database’s Mock Draft Simualator
Now that the Rams have taken care of some of their own and addressed a few needs in free agency, it’s time to look at the draft. The Rams don’t have a selection until 36 overall, therefore, the focus will be to get players who can come in and play a role early while developing into future starters.
Rams’ top needs, post-free agency: EDGE, OT, S, CB, DL, RB, K, P, WR
The Pick at 40: EDGE BJ Ojulari, LSU
TRADE: Rams receive Pick 40, Pick 115 | Saints Receive Pick 36
It would not be surprising to see the Rams try and trade back from 36. Snead likely doesn’t see a huge gap in talent from the player at 36 to the player at 45 or 50. Here, I traded back four spots and still ended up with Ojulari from LSU.
Just watched BJ Ojulari's tape from this weekend against Mississippi State - yet another impressive EDGE in this class— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) September 19, 2022
Can win from the outside with burst+dip/bend or the inside with the swim move
2 sacks and 3 more QB hits pic.twitter.com/34HRSfhAv5
Ojulari fits the profile that the Rams have liked in their edge rushers. The LSU edge rusher has a lot of upside once he gets coached up and starts to play better against the run. Ojulari ranked second in the SEC in pressures last season.
The Pick at 69: TE Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State
The Rams need to start thinking about life after Tyler Higbee. Higbee’s contract expires at the end of the season. They need to consider taking a tight end with one of their top two or three picks.
South Dakota State TE Tucker Kraft is a productive receiver, but he definitely brings some juice as a run blocker. pic.twitter.com/Ni4LRc6vwC— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) February 6, 2023
Kraft brings receiving ability, but is also very good as a blocker. The Rams could use Kraft in 12 personnel this season before making him the primary tight end in 2024.
The Pick at 115 (From Saints): OG Nick Broeker, Mississippi State
The Rams signed David Edwards and Nate Herbig in free agency, but I’m not opposed to drafting some depth either. Broeker brings positional versatility with experience at both left tackle and left guard. He’s likely a developmental guard at the next level.
Ole Miss LG (64) Nick Broeker throwing down White as Evans runs it for a TD pic.twitter.com/tT7KeLn7Jj— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 7, 2023
At the very least, Broeker would offer some insurance at left guard behind Edwards. I only brought Edwards back on a one-year deal. If he’s not healthy, Broeker is someone who can develop as a rookie.
The Pick at 136: CB Jakorian Bennett, Maryland
While I signed Isaiah Oliver in free agency, the Rams will also likely need to draft someone. Oliver was only brought in on a one-year deal. Bennett is a good fit for the Rams and is someone who impressed during the Senior Bowl. Nobody in the Power 5 had more pass breakups than Bennett.
JAKORIAN BENNETT ENDS HIS CAREER IN STYLE pic.twitter.com/QtJXq9EgzQ— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) December 30, 2022
Bennett is a legitimate option on the outside and someone who can hold his own. This would be a great selection to help turn around the secondary.
The Pick at 172: S Trey Dean III, Florida
The Rams found Russ Yeast at the Shrine Bowl last year. Losing both Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott at safety, they’ll need to find one in the draft to provide some depth. Dean impressed at the Shrine Bowl this year and is a versatile player in the secondary.
Final 2023 @ShrineBowl Risers— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) February 3, 2023
Trey Dean III, S, @GatorsFB
“You distinguish yourself by making plays. Trey Dean III made plays all week in Las Vegas and was the most consistent safety at the Shrine Bowl by far.”
Full list: https://t.co/XOjEajcPbbpic.twitter.com/93lv8K58CH
The Pick at 182: iDL Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State
There weren’t many players that showed more power than Silvera at the Senior Bowl. While Marquise Copeland brings could interior versatility, the Rams need a big body in the middle that can eat double teams.
Nesta Jade Silvera is not only ridiculously athletic but a punishing tackler. Call him The Punisher. Arizona State has a dude here who could go early in the draft next year. pic.twitter.com/PoQCgjGMfy— John Vogel (@DraftVogel) September 1, 2022
Silvera is exactly that. Replacing Gaines won’t be easy, but if Silvera can develop as a pass rusher, he’s going to be dangerous at the next level.
The Pick at 189: WR Ronnie Bell, Michigan
I opted not to bring back Brandon Powell, leaving the need for a wide receiver that brings returning ability on special teams. As a returner is likely where Bell would contribute as a rookie. However, he’s someone who could certainly develop into a receiver in year two or three with experience.
What a punt return by Ronnie Bell! Set up the offense with great field position while down 7.— JD 〽️ (@MGoJDBlue) November 20, 2022
Go Blue! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/Y3jLhvOfOd
The Pick at 191: RB Evan Hull, Northwestern
Hull is more than just a late-round pick. Not only could he contribute on special teams early on in his career, this is someone who could have success as a starter in the NFL. Hull has potential to be a bell cow in which he gets 20 carries a game or be a short-yardage, third-down player in a committee.
Well hello there, Evan Hull pic.twitter.com/IqUWvI7DUd— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 27, 2022
The Rams have question marks at the running back position. Hopefully Akers builds on the end of his 2022 season. However, the Rams need insurance and that’s something Hull brings to the table immediately.
The Pick at 211: K Christopher Dunn, NC State
A kicker isn’t exciting, but if there’s one worth taking late, it’s Dunn. He missed just one kick last year from 40-49 yards and was a perfect 2-for-2 from 50 plus. Dunn doesn’t have a lot of kickoff experience, but is as consistent as they come in the field goal department.
The Pick at 235: OT Connor Galvin, Baylor
It’s never a bad idea to take a developmental tackle late and that’s exactly what Galvin would be. If you’re keeping track, this would be the fourth offensive lineman added in this offseason mock. Galvin participated at the Shrine Bowl and had some good moments.
@ShrineBowl Day 3 Film— Mike Kadlick (@mikekadlick) January 31, 2023
Communication is key. Watch OL Jaxson Kirkland (51) and T Connor Galvin (76) talk over their TAG block to the second level to pave the way for their RB: pic.twitter.com/QchP0e5Jpe
The Pick at 252: P Bryce Baringer, Michigan State
Again, not an exciting pick here, but after not bringing back Gay or Dixon, it’s a necessary one. Among punters with at least 50 attempts this season, Baringer led the nation in net yards. He had zero blocked and also ranked inside the top-25 in punts inside the 20.
68-yarder into the corner to open the season for Michigan State punter Bryce Baringer— Oliver Hodgkinson (@ojhodgkinson) September 2, 2022
Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart Post-2023 NFL Draft
QB (3) — Matthew Stafford, Mike White, Bryce Perkins
RB (4) — Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, Evan Hull, Ronnie Rivers
WR (11) — Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson, TuTu Atwell, Ben Skowronek, Ronnie Bell, Lance McCutcheon, Jacob Harris, Austin Trammell, Jaquarii Roberson, Jerreth Sterns
TE (5) — Tyler Higbee, Tucker Kraft, Brycen Hopkins, Roger Carter, Jared Pinkney
RT (2) — Rob Havenstein, Max Pircher
LT (4) — Andre Dillard, Connor Galvin, Tremayne Anchrum, AJ Arcuri
RG (4) — Nate Herbig, Logan Bruss, Chandler Brewer, Zach Thomas
LG (2) — David Edwards, Alaric Jackson, Nick Broeker
C (3) — Coleman Shelton, Brian Allen, Jeremiah Kolone
DE (7) — Aaron Donald, Jonah Williams, Larrell Murchison, Earnest Brown IV, TJ Carter, Khalil Davis, Zach VanValkenburg
NT (3) — Bobby Brown III, Marquise Copeland, Nesta Jade Silvera
OLB (6) – Leonard Floyd, BJ Ojulari, Michael Hoecht, Daniel Hardy, Keir Thomas, Brayden Thomas
ILB (5) – Ernest Jones, Bobby Wagner, Travis Howard, Christian Rozeboom, Jake Hummel
CB (8) – Jalen Ramsey, Cobie Durant, Isaiah Oliver, Jakorian Bennett, Derion Kendrick, Robert Rochell, TJ Carter, Richard LeCounte III
S (4) – Jordan Fuller, Russ Yeast, Quentin Lake, Trey Dean III
P – Bryce Baringer
K – Christopher Dunn
LS – TBD
This gives them 73 total players, with the ability to add 17 undrafted free agents to fill out their training camp roster.
While there are no splashy signings per se, this would be an improved Rams roster going into 2023. I added some depth on the offensive line with Dillard and Herbig in free agency and then drafted Nick Broeker and Connor Galvin. These pieces paired with some of the upside already on the roster should make most feel better about the offensive line. It’s still a risk with Dillard at left tackle, but it’s not a bad group.
The starting five would be:
Then at depth, the Rams would have Broeker, Jackson, Allen, and Brewer
At edge rusher, I added Ojulari who will bring upside opposite of Leonard Floyd. He may take some time to work in, but by midseason, he’ll hit his stride.
In the secondary, losing Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp was a difficult decision. However, I was thrilled to get Dean III and Jakorian Bennett as rookies. Isaiah Oliver also brings upside in the slot and is an upgrade to David Long.
The fact of the matter is, the Rams do have limited resources. Therefore, it’s going to be about getting bargain buys and relying a lot on rookies and young players to step up. Dillard and Herbig do bring upside and Ojulari has a lot of potential.
We’ll see what Snead and the Rams actually do, but they certainly will have their work cut out for them.