The Los Angeles Rams took a step back this offseason in what is being described as a “re-tool” year by general manager Les Snead. With the departures of Leonard Floyd, Bobby Wagner, Jalen Ramsey, and others, some have gone as far to say that they are tanking with a potentially elite quarterback class in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Similar conversations were had last year with the Seattle Seahawks. After trading away Russell Wilson and moving on from Wagner, some thought that they may be heading towards a long rebuild. Instead Seattle made the postseason.
Could the Rams follow the same path in 2023? Gilberto Manzano of Sports Illustrated recently listed one thing that he learned from every team this offseason. What did he learn about the Rams? “(LA) will put up a fight.” Here’s what Manzano had to say,
“The Rams could easily be one of the teams tanking this season for the prize quarterbacks next draft, but I continue to focus on them keeping Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald, and having Sean McVay return after he contemplated leaving for a TV analyst job. That group alone could make the Rams a feisty team that might find itself in the mix for a wild-card spot in December.”
With the moves that the Rams have made, it’s very possible that they are being overlooked. At the end of the day, they still have McVay as the head coach to go with the trio of stars consisting of Stafford, Kupp, and Donald.
Losing Ramsey and Floyd on most rosters would almost certainly guarantee a top-5 pick. However, with a better offensive line and more inspired all-around play, the Rams just might end up being more competitive than initially thought. A lot of it might depend on how a young defensive group performs. Still, the Rams aren’t a team that’s just going to lay over and admit defeat before the season starts.
Two things can be true here. Yes, the Rams have an eye on 2024 as they have over $60M in projected cap space. That doesn’t mean they are tanking. The Rams can have an eye on 2024 and remain competitive in a wide-open NFC. They may not be in contention to win a Super Bowl, but in the playoff hunt is certainly a possibility.