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Sony Michel was never going to make Rams roster in 2023

It also means that Royce Freeman earning a spot over Zach Evans, Ronnie Rivers would be a surprise

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams signed Sony Michel just a month before starting training camp at UC Irvine. The veteran running back was a welcome addition to a room full of youngsters. Cam Akers figures to be the work horse in 2023, but behind him are two second-year backs in Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers and sixth-round rookie Zach Evans.

The Rams likely turned to Michel not for production into the season, but instead for veteran leadership amongst a group still learning the ropes in the NFL.

So when Michel surprised the NFL world by announcing his retirement just a week into training camp, it makes sense why Los Angeles turned to a journeyman in Royce Freeman over someone who could legitimately compete for playing time in Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, or Kenyan Drake. Freeman isn’t in camp to take reps away from Williams, Rivers, or Evans.

Sony Michel was never going to make the Rams’ regular season roster, and probably Freeman isn’t either.

Akers should enter the regular season as the lead back and play the majority of the reps until the run game otherwise proves ineffective. If the Rams cannot generate more production from their recently anemic ground attack, then the team should instead pivot to the more shiftier Williams and Rivers and try to work Evans into the fold.

Aside from Akers, Evans figures to have the most upside. At this time a year ago he was considered a borderline first round pick, though his final year at Ole Miss led to more questions than answers over the NFL Draft process. The Rams traded up into the sixth round for the opportunity to take Evans, and now it’s on him to carve out a role and make an impact.

Given the current state of the running back market around the NFL, there’s nearly no incentive to go older at the position. Los Angeles must give the youngsters the first opportunity to reboot a struggling rushing attack, but if they falter Freeman could have an opening. Otherwise, Sony Michel was never going to make the Rams roster and Royce Freeman probably won’t either.