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Random Ramsdom: Aaron Donald’s top plays from 2022

Donald is once again going into a season as one of the NFL’s top defensive tackles

Los Angeles Rams v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Whether you think it’s meaningful or not, it doesn’t matter: Rams COO Kevin Demoff’s words on the 11 Personnel podcast about Matthew Stafford’s contract and trade rumors did not actually address the important questions. Ultimately, it could still be true that the team never approached Stafford about making changes in his contract. But nothing that Demoff said on Tuesday made it clear that the Rams never asked Stafford to take a pay cut or change his contract in any way.

He also said that the team was “fully committed” to Stafford while in the same breath leaving open the possibility that a “ridiculous trade offer” would move the needle. That doesn’t sound like it could be “100%” if there’s a percentage of possibility in the other direction.

Demoff said that the team never asked Stafford to “restructure” his contract, which I have no doubt is true for two reasons: Teams don’t have to get permission from players to restructure their deals and b) Stafford’s contract doesn’t have any money to restructure. His base salary is $1.5 million, as it typically is in the first year of a player extension, so a “restructure” makes no sense. But Demoff didn’t use any other words besides “restructure” and he didn’t make it clear on the podcast that he was addressing a very specific type of football contract language that only has one meaning.

This hasn’t stopped many writers from posting the news without noting the differences between “restructure” and “re-do” or pointing out that if the Rams had cut Stafford, as Demoff said the team could have done if they wanted to save $59 million in cash, they would have been in a financial hole that L.A. couldn’t have climbed out of; Stafford would have received $63 million for 0 years of his extension and the team would have sunk much deeper in salary cap debt for 2023.

So if the Rams didn’t engage in trade talks about Stafford and never seriously considered changing his contract or asking him to change his contract, that’s 100% fine. It’s just not what Kevin Demoff said, but that’s not what most people seem to understand.

Now for today’s links...

Aaron Donald’s top plays from 2022 season (Rams website)

Highlights: Aaron Donald’s top plays from the 2022 season that secured his 7th consecutive 99 Madden rating

Click here to watch the highlights

Watch Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald’s top plays from the 2022 season that secured his 7th consecutive induction into the Madden 99 Club.

Los Angeles Rams v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Gurley Effect: Rams Created NFLs RB Market Problem? (Rams Digest)

This week prompted outrage as Pro Bowl running backs (Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, Josh Jacobs) in some of the NFL’s biggest markets (New York, Dallas, Las Vegas) failed to successfully negotiate long-term contracts. Are the Los Angles Rams somehow to blame?

In 2015, the Rams drafted Georgia running back Todd Gurley at No. 10 in the NFL Draft, making him the first running back to be selected in the first round since Trent Richardson went to the Cleveland Browns third overall in 2012. At the time college football was marketing “The Resurrection of The Running Back,” players carrying Gurley’s torch included Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, and Dalvin Cook.

Unfortunately, that renaissance period was short-lived. Despite those eventual NFL Pro Bowlers, college football has had just one running back win the Heisman since Gurley went to the NFL (Henry at Alabama in 2015). Meanwhile, the same number of receivers have won the coveted college trophy (Devonta Smith at Alabama 2021), something that, in hindsight, is indicative of a new era of football.

Rams Odds to Make Playoffs and Win Super Bowl (Hawaii News)

Rams Super Bowl Odds

  • Odds to Win the NFC West: +900
  • Odds to Win the Super Bowl: +6600

Los Angeles Betting Insights

  • Los Angeles put together a 6-10-1 ATS record last year.
  • Last season, the combined scoring went over the point total six times in Rams games.
  • Los Angeles was a bottom-five offense last year, ranking worst with 280.5 yards per game. Defensively, it ranked 19th in the (341.1 yards allowed per game).
  • Last year the Rams won only once away from home and had a 4-5 record at home.
  • When the underdog, Los Angeles had only two victories (2-9) a year ago, but when favored finished 3-3.
  • The Rams were 3-9 in the NFC, including 1-5 in the NFC West.

Breaking down the 2023 Los Angeles Rams (Revenge of the Birds)

Talk about a hangover.

Now two years removed from their Super Bowl LVI win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Los Angeles Rams are in an interesting spot.

They have not made a first round pick since 2016, and are in line to do so for the first time after this season.

Could it be early in the draft, or will they be looking at the backend of the first round.

Jess sat down and discussed all of that and more, so sit back, relax and enjoy.

Los Angeles Rams rely on few remaining stars with depth lacking amid roster remodel (KTVZ/AP)

Less than two years after their Super Bowl championship season, the Rams have decided to take as much salary cap pain as possible in 2023. They gutted their roster and made no major free agent additions, electing to play this season with an unimpressive supporting cast around Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp. GM Les Snead calls it a remodel rather than a rebuild, but even contending for a playoff spot seems daunting with the Rams’ clear lack of proven talent, particularly across a defense that lost six of its top seven tacklers.