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Are Rams gearing up to trade away Van Jefferson?

LA has signed two veteran WR’s as Jefferson enters contract year

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Within the span of one week, the Los Angeles Rams have now added two veteran WR’s ahead of training camp this fall: former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide-out Tyler Johnson and former Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens receiver Demarcus Robinson.

At first the signing of Johnson just seemed to be a reinforcement of depth—you can never have too many pass catchers in the modern NFL; however, doubling down at the position would suggest discontent with the first five to six rungs on the depth chart.

Could the additions of Johnson and Robinson suggest that the team is preparing to trade away an asset at WR, such as Van Jefferson who enters a contract year in his fourth professional season?

WR#1 Cooper Kupp is still working his way back from a season-ending injury and resulting tightrope surgery, though despite those concerns he has a fairly recently extended contract and plenty of job security. The Rams seem pretty cemented to the idea of keeping their top three stars, Kupp, Aaron Donald, and Matthew Stafford, as they enter the next era of their roster.

After Kupp things certainly get a lot trickier, and all players on the depth chart have major questions to answer heading into 2023:

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Van Jefferson -

How does it benefit the Rams to keep him around next year? What performance justifies using the franchise tag or a contract extension for 2024 and beyond, or is the plan to let him show out and earn a big free agent contract (return compensatory capital)? Is it worth trading him now instead of waiting for a comp pick in 2025?

Tutu Atwell -

Does his size keep him from becoming a regular contributor on offense? Can he develop into more than a gadget-type player or deep threat?

Ben Skowronek -

Can he build on the flashes he showed a year ago, or is he just a depth piece and special teams contributor? Will the team leverage him as a fullback again in 2023?

Puka Nacua -

Is it too early to buy into the hype surrounding the rookie based on his performance in offseason activities, or is he LA’s next Kupp?

Lance McCutcheon -

McCutcheon hasn’t made much progress since his standout preseason in 2022, though he hasn’t had much opportunity either. Special teams will play a pivotal role in who makes the backend of the roster, and that could be his edge over Johnson or Robinson perhaps.

Tyler Johnson -

Injuries and limited opportunities have kept Johnson from taking the next step in his career, though his ceiling could be a number two or three option in this offense.

Demarcus Robinson -

The quintessential NFL journeyman. Does his presence mean a lack of satisfaction with some of the Rams’ developing receivers, or does Sean McVay have a role in mind for the veteran?

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images