Back in 2020, following the loss of Greg Zuerlein, the Rams were struggling to find a reliable replacement at the kicker position. The team drafted Sam Sloman out of Miami of Ohio, and it was a disaster from the start, as the rookie struggled mightily before being released midseason.
Then, Los Angeles struck gold, signing Matt Gay after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the same season. Gay went on to become one of the best kickers in the NFL during his time with the Rams, converting a whopping 93% of his field goal attempts in his 41 regular season games with the team.
On March 14th, the Rams would lose Matt Gay to a record-breaking free agent deal to the Indianapolis Colts, leaving the Rams without a kicker on the roster heading into the new league year.
With that being said, there are plenty of options out there in terms of finding someone to replace Matt Gay, whether it be through free agency or the upcoming draft.
Here are some viable options for the Rams to consider in both avenues:
CHASE MCLAUGHLIN (FREE AGENT)
If the Colts are going to take Matt Gay away from the Rams, then the Rams should take Chase McLaughlin away from the Colts. McLaughlin has bounced around a bit in the NFL in his young career, and has yet to find a steady home.
McLaughlin has converted 78% of his field goal attempts throughout his career thus far, with his best all-around season being last year in Indianapolis as he converted 83.3% of his field goal attempts along with 9/12 on attempts of 50 yards or more.
Given the minimal amount of NFL teams that need kickers, the Rams could probably net McLaughlin on a cheap deal, which could lead to a steal just like it did back when they snagged Matt Gay in 2020.
JAKE MOODY (MICHIGAN)
If the Rams ultimately decide to go to the draft in order to find their kicker of the future, former University of Michigan kicker Jake Moody may be the way to go.
Following two full seasons as the Wolverines’ go to place kicker, Moody has put himself in position as arguably the best kicker in this years draft class. In 2021 and 2022 combined, Moody went 52/60 for a FG percentage of 87%, including a career-long 59-yard field goal in the College Football Playoffs last season.
In 40 yards and less, Moody has been virtually automatic, with the longer distance kicks being more of an inconsistent area for the young kicker. With that being said, the upside Moody presents may be too good to pass up, especially because he will be on a very cheap rookie contract if the Rams do elect to select him.
CHAD RYLAND (MARYLAND)
Honestly, if the Rams decide not to sign Chase McLaughlin, drafting a kicker late in the draft is not a horrible idea. Another kicker I like is former Eastern Michigan/Maryland kicker Chad Ryland, a very experienced player that made 77% of his 97 field goal attempts in his five years as a starting place kicker in college.
That 77% would be higher, but he struggled his first two years in college before knocking down roughly 85% of his 58 kicks in the past three seasons. On top of becoming more efficient, Ryland proved to be reliable from long-distance as well, converting over 60 percent of his kicks of 50 yards or more over his college career.
Again, while Ryland is a wild card like a vast majority of collegiate kickers who get selected in the NFL Draft, the upside is there, which may be enough for the Rams to take a flier on.