Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead spoke to the media following the end of the season on Friday. Snead talked for about an hour on a variety of topics, but did provide a glimpse on how the team will approach what will be a very important offseason. The Rams general manager talked about having a first-round pick, the possibility of an Ernest Jones extension, as well as how the Rams will approach Kevin Dotson’s pending free agency.
What Will Rams Do in the First Round
For the first time since the 2019 NFL Draft, the Rams will enter the offseason with a first-round pick. However, unlike 2019, it’s very likely that they actually end up selecting in the first-round rather than completely trading out of it. Snead gave some direction on what the Rams may do with the 19th overall pick. Said Snead,
“A little too early to tell. Obviously you always have to prepare to pick. We’re not going to Minnesota Vikings this thing and just pass. You always have to be able to prepare to pick and then at that point in time, depending on what player is there or not do we determined is it better to move back and acquire more picks. I think all of those options are going to be on the table. There’s also going to be players that we’re going to have to be disciplined to pass on that are first round talent but maybe not quite a scheme fit. You have to be able to prepare to pick, prepare to pass on some players, and see if a trade back or trade up is beneficial.”
As Snead typically does during the draft, he will likely keep all of his options open. Whether it’s trade back to acquire more picks, staying put at 19, or trading up for a player that they really like, it will be on the table. The Rams aren’t going to pigeon-hole themselves one way or the other. Snead didn’t really discuss it in his postseason press conference, but there’s also the option of trading the first-round pick for a proven player which is something that the team has done in the past.
Ernest Jones Extension?
One thing that Snead discussed was the possibility of an Ernest Jones extension. In the past, the Rams haven’t paid the inside linebacker position throughout the Sean McVay era. With that said, that’s also not to say that the Rams haven’t done it or wouldn’t do it if the player was right. Back in 2012 during Snead’s first season, the team signed James Laurinaitis to an extension. Just last year, they inked Bobby Wagner in free agency. Here’s what Snead had to say about Jones,
“I think he’s someone obviously who is a very important part of that defense for many reasons. Definitely the leader of the defense. He’s definitely someone we’ll discuss and definitely someone we'd like to have around”
It will be interesting to see what the Rams do with Jones. There’s no doubt that he’s a big part of the defense. Last season he was one of the best blitzing linebackers in the NFL and broke the franchise record for most tackles in a season. As a leader on the defense, he is someone that the team would like to bring back. With that said, Jones does lack in coverage and is still someone that the team needs to pair with another player who is better in that regard. Whether Jones is worth a contract extension and what that extension looks like is something to keep an eye on this offseason.
Will the Rams Bring Back Kevin Dotson?
There’s no doubt that the Rams would like to bring back Kevin Dotson. Dotson completely transformed the offensive line once he took over in Week 5 and was a big reason for the team’s turnaround in the run game. As a player that the Rams traded for before the season, it certainly worked out. Now the team will need to decide if Dotson is a player worth bringing back and what that sort of deal looks like. Said Snead,
“Continuity is definitely the vision...I would bet that he will definitely have a marketplace. People are going to want him to come play football for them and we’re one of those teams. The way we try to do it here, we’ll take it a little bit slower. We’re definitely going to have to be intentional and go through this process. We’ll start engineering a blueprint and more importantly a timeline of communication so that each step of the way they know where we stand.”
It’s unlikely that anything imminent happens here and if the Rams bring back Dotson, it won’t be until free agency opens up. This will allow Los Angeles to find out what Dotson’s market value is and if that price tag is something that they can and are willing to afford. The Rams would like to have Dotson back, but they are also going to be smart about it. Earlier this offseason, PFF projected his contract around $17M per year. It’s hard to see the Rams going that high for Dotson. The Rams will look to bring back Dotson, but also keep their options open and audible if needed.