The Los Angeles Rams officially enter the offseason following their 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. It’s going to be an important offseason for the Rams as they look to take that next step in 2024. Here’s who's stock is rising and who's is falling as LA heads into the spring and summer.
Stock Up: WR Puka Nacua
Is it a hot take to say that Puka Nacua is the best wide receiver on the Rams roster as we head into the 2024 offseason? Nacua gained 150 of his 181 receiving yards after contact which is the fourth most in a game this season. He has had 150 of his 181 yards after being used in shift or motion which is the second-most in a game in the Next Gen Stats era.
Nacua is a perfect fit for the direction of where the Rams offense is heading. He absolutely has star potential and now will have a full offseason where he can build on a very strong rookie year. The future could not be brighter for Nacua.
Stock Down: WR Cooper Kupp
It’s fair to have questions about Cooper Kupp’s future following the playoff performance. He had just five receptions for 27 yards. It wasn’t the same Kupp that stepped up during the 2021 postseason. Kupp was dominant in the red zone. He caught the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. However, Stafford targeted Kupp four times in three trips to the red zone. Three of those passes went incomplete and the fourth was a four-yard gain on 3rd-and-12. Los Angeles went 0-for-3 in the red zone. It’s very likely that we never see the 2021 version of Kupp again as he turns 31 this summer.
Kupp was probably never 100 percent healthy this season as he came in with an injured hamstring and dealt with some ankle issues. However, Kupp isn’t getting younger and wide receiver can fall off after 30. Julio Jones had his final 1,000 yard season at 30 years old and had 771 yards in his age 31 season, playing just nine games. Accounting for Kupp’s injuries, can he still be a number one wide receiver on this offense?
Stock Up: TE Davis Allen
Allen has a huge opportunity this offseason to become the de-facto starting tight end in the Rams offense. Heading into the summer, the Rams tight ends include Hunter Long, Tyler Higbee, and Brycen Hopkins. Long and Higbee both had season ending knee injuries. They likely won’t be back until late September or October. Meanwhile, Hopkins is a free agent and it would be a big surprise if the Rams brought him back.
The Rams rookie tight end impressed in limited opportunities as a receiver. He had two receptions for 28 yards against the Lions and all season he showed impressive yards after the catch ability. This is a player that the Rams and fans will be excited about as he heads into year two given the state of the tight end position on the roster.
Stock Down: Rams Secondary
It had been said for a few weeks, but Sunday’s loss to the Lions confirmed it. The Rams have to re-build a majority of their secondary this offseason. Jared Goff went 22-for-22 when not under pressure. Even against a bad secondary, you would expect at least one pass breakup, if not two or three. The Rams simply need playmakers in the secondary.
Ahkello Witherspoon was a great value this season, but isn’t a player that should be brought back on a large deal. Cobie Durant took a big step back in year two and Derion Kendrick simply is not the answer. At safety, the Rams have Quentin Lake, but Russ Yeast is a depth player. John Johnson III brought a veteran presence, but isn’t the player that he once was in the middle of a defense. Jordan Fuller is a free agent that likely won’t be brought back. This is a secondary that needs completely rebuilt.
Stock Up: QB Matthew Stafford
Heading into last offseason there were some questions about Matthew Stafford’s health and how many years he had left on the Rams. That has taken a 180 as we head into this offseason. Stafford was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the back-half of the season. Against the Lions, he threw for 367 yards and 22.2 percent of throws were considered aggressive. He also had zero turnover-worthy plays.
The back-half of the season showed that with a run-game and offensive line that can keep him upright, Stafford can absolutely still sling it. Los Angeles needs to continue surrounding him with pieces, but Stafford’s outlook heading into this summer is much different than it was 12 months ago.