When the Los Angeles Rams announced they’d be releasing Bobby Wagner and now Leonard Floyd, it would be fair to wonder if the sky had fallen on the fanbase. Anyone who watched the disaster on the field last season should’ve known this offseason was going to be a little painful.
Could it possibly get worse? I certainly hope not. However, in the NFL, anything can happen and teams do rebuild. But don’t let panic set in over using words like “rebuild” with regards to L.A.’s offseason.
Is this the worst word in the NFL dictionary? A rebuild shouldn’t be so taboo and the word doesn’t deserve the negative connotation that surrounds it.
What LA fans freaking about where to return their Matthew Stafford jerseys seem to forget is that the team has been here before. It wasn’t coined a “rebuild” then and it shouldn’t be considered one now.
Despite defensive stalwarts like Wagner, Floyd and Jalen Ramsey either cut or rumored on the trade block, those years have similarities with each other. The only difference with this offseason compared to the one after 2019 is that the Rams are coming off a losing season. Losing, not to mention countless injuries, exposes a team’s flaws. It’s an uncomfortable truth to face but a necessary one at that.
When LA came into ‘19 as defending NFC champions, many analysts expected them to have a strong chance at repeating. Those Rams faced significant adversity, including 20 players missing time due to injuries. They still finished above .500, sitting at 9-7 and narrowly missing the postseason.
What came after was the best thing that could ever happen to the organization and gradually set the 2022 Super Bowl team in motion. Los Angeles quickly found out Jared Goff could only lead his team so far, Todd Gurley had lost a step and Marcus Peters was difficult to work with. Instead of holding onto their contractual mistakes like a broken relationship, LA let ‘em rip. How’s that for therapy?
A $134 million contract for Goff, a $60 million contract for Gurley, and an $80 million contract for Brandin Cooks was still not enough to hold the Rams back from moving on and starting over at this positions...and winning the Super Bowl in short order.
I will say that Brandin Cooks doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with actual mistakes like Goff and Gurley. Cooks has been productive everywhere he’s gone. His trade to Houston was about creating cap space in future seasons rather than an indictment of his play. The trade was an open admission on LA’s behalf that they overpaid the receiver at the time and was willing to let him go.
So again just to be clear, the Rams have been down this road before. Everyone’s in a panic now because of how unsuccessful the previous year was. Remember, this isn’t a “rebuild” but rather a “remodel”. With such a cutesy word like that, who could possibly be upset over it?
LA’s situation may seem dire for the time being but it shouldn’t be. Unless all the stars are shipped off, this technically isn’t a full-scale rebuild. Similar to the last time the Rams missed the playoffs under McVay, this time around could greatly benefit the organization in the long term. Yes, even if Rams fans have to endure one more disappointing year.
For one, the cap situation heading into 2024 could be promising if a couple major moves were to occur over the summer. L.A. is already clearing out space with Wagner and Floyd, with Allen Robinson and Ramsey to potentially follow. The Rams could be looking at over $80 million in 2024 cap space with a few key moves, though we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves on looking ahead.
How has that worked out in the past?
For a while now, it seems the media is always trying to kick the Rams. When the Rams started adding a bunch of players, the media said it wouldn’t work and they were trying too hard with “F them picks”. Then McVay and Les Snead won a Super Bowl with that strategy. They’re paying the penance for those moves now and the media is kicking them while they’re down as if the Super Bowl didn’t just happen. Couldn’t McVay and Snead turn it around again, as in 2017 and 2020-2021?
Don’t expect this team to stay dormant for as long as McVay and Snead are at the helm. Fans can handle one more season of suck, or whatever ‘23 is going to be.
Rebuild? Or just getting started?