The Los Angeles Rams are starting over on defense with the exception of Aaron Donald. Sean McVay is working with almost all new starters this season and even Donald has been absent for most of the offseason as he is dealing with “family stuff” and won’t return until training camp begins on July 25th.
But Donald is the only player currently keeping the Rams defense out of the basement of rankings, at least according to PFF this week. Here are Tuesday’s links, plus a community question at the bottom: When will the Rams next win the NFC West division?
“As costly as the departures of Ramsey, Wagner and Leonard Floyd will be, we also can’t overlook the losses of Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson. Now that they’re gone, the Rams need to replace two-thirds of their starting defensive line.
Pro Football Focus ranked the Rams’ D-line as the best in the NFL this time last year, but Los Angeles has dropped precipitously entering the 2023 season. According to PFF, the Rams’ defensive line ranks 22nd in the league, and it’s only that high because of Donald.
If not for Aaron Donald, the Rams could very well have ended up outside the top 30 on this list, but even the three-time Defensive Player of the Year’s presence could not lead to a better ranking for this unit.
Donald earned a PFF overall grade over 90.0 for the ninth time in his nine-year career this past season, but he was dethroned as the highest-graded interior defender after seven seasons at the top.
Outside of him, the Rams do not have much to offer on the defensive line, but they did draft five defensive linemen this year, so they’ll be hoping that at least one or two can step up in 2023.
The Rams have a host of unproven players in contention to start alongside Donald, but there’s no clear indication who will be on the field for the first snaps in Week 1. Sean McVay even said they could use a deeper rotation of players than usual, suggesting they won’t have the same three players playing the majority of the snaps like the last two years.”
“According to Over the Cap, the Rams are currently projected to have $48.9 million in cap space in 2024. On top of that, this chart shows that Los Angeles is expected to have only six unrestricted free agents in 2024 that saw 30 percent or more of the snaps in 2022.
A quick look at how much teams have riding on the 2023 season pic.twitter.com/IEkLYVik6F— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) June 15, 2023
At the moment, the Rams have $10.8 million in cap space after recently restructuring Cooper Kupp’s contract. Meanwhile, the Rams also have the second-most dead money in the NFL this season, which allows them to create more cap space for the future.
As Fitzgerald explains, the teams in the bottom right of the quadrant are ones that could be active in free agency or conduct early extensions for players in 2024. Cam Akers, Van Jefferson, Jordan Fuller, and Ernest Jones are the most notable names set to be unrestricted free agents in the next couple of years.
For the Rams, you also can’t rule out the possibility of them trading for a player at a premium position in the next season or two. Regardless of how they choose to attack their long-term plan, the Rams are poised to be a team to watch following the 2023 season.”
The new version of last year’s Seahawks could be NFC West rival (sports.mynorthwest.com)
“The 2022 Seahawks silenced the doubters, of course, pulling off a surprising 9-8 season and return to the playoffs led by quarterback Geno Smith, who became a Pro Bowler in his first full season as a starter in eight years.
Now the Seahawks go into 2023 as one of two favorites to win the NFC West, the other being the San Francisco 49ers, who reached the NFC Championship Game last season. Are there any other teams in the division that could make a run, though?
Brock Huard was asked that question Friday when the former NFL QB and current FOX college football analyst joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, and he agreed with the premise.
“I’m wondering if it’s going to be a three-horse race,” co-host Stacy Rost said.
Replied Huard: “Yeah, I’m not dissing and diminishing the Rams quite yet.”
“Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay and his wife Veronika Khomyn announced Sunday she was pregnant with a boy.
On Father’s Day, Khomyn made the announcement on her Instagram account. She posted a collage of photos showing her and McVay lounging and holding ultrasound photos of their child.
“Guess who’s becoming a dad this football season!” she captioned the post. “Baby boy McVay is coming this fall and we’re so excited to meet him and love on him. I can’t believe he’s been growing in my belly for 5 months already.”
McVay and Khomyn met when he was still an assistant for the Washington Commanders, and she was just a college student in Virginia. McVay proposed to Khomyn in 2019, and they tied in the knot in 2022.
Khomyn is a model and originally from Ukraine.”
Community question: When will Rams next win the NFC West division?
As you can see, some are expecting the Seattle Seahawks to turn around and potentially win the division next season, less than two years after trading Russell Wilson. How long are away from a division title are the L.A. Rams? Could it happen in 2023 or as early as 2024? What will need to happen for that to be the case? Let us know in the comments!