After their improbable win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday Night, the Los Angeles Rams currently sit at 4-9. After a season removed from winning a Super Bowl in which they went all in with trading for current Buffalo Bills defensive end Von Miller and signing free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The Los Angeles Rams are currently in last in the NFC West and will have their first losing season under head coach Sean McVay. Many experts believe that after this season, the Rams should consider entering a rebuild and go into 2023 with a new team with a young influx of talent and a new head coach leading the charge.
The Los Angeles Rams should absolutely not consider that option. If anything, the Rams need to reload, not rebuild their roster for 2023. If they want to learn how to retool a roster and still remain competitive, they should look at their NFC division rival, the Seattle Seahawks. After the Seahawks went 7-10 last season and parted ways with franchise staples in Russell Wilson and releasing stud linebacker Bobby Wagner, many believed that Seattle was heading towards a rebuild. Instead, general manager John Schneider retooled the roster rather than tearing down the roster completely.
They opted to keep and not trade star wide receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Same goes for safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. With the draft capital acquired from the Russell Wilson trade, Schneider was able to draft two stud rookie offensive tackles in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas. Seattle also drafted two quality cornerbacks in Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant, and a stud at running back in Kenneth Walker III.
Resigning Rashaad Penny, and signing Uchenna Nwosu from the Los Angeles Chargers were also quality moves. So too was acquiring quality pieces from the Denver trade in defensive tackle Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant. Fast forward to now and Seattle is one of the surprising teams in the NFC with a 7-5 record and could potentially reach the playoffs after many predicted this team would be picking top three in the upcoming NFL draft.
The Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams are two completely different franchises with different roster timelines, but the Los Angeles Rams should take notes on how to retool a roster and still stay competitive. Looking at the NFC right now, it is wide open for the next two seasons.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have a new coach and a new quarterback under center next year. Who knows what Aaron Rodgers is gonna do in Green Bay. It is not a guarantee that the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys have the same success they are having this year into next year. San Francisco has the team but questions at quarterback Finally, the Philadelphia Eagles are likely to run the NFC for the next few years with how well they are playing this season. Come next season, the Los Angeles Rams could potentially be back where they were in 2021, in the playoff race and contending for a Super Bowl
The city of Los Angeles is filled with things to do in your free time. If a team is winning, then the people will show support to that team. If they aren’t then the team is irrelevant. The term “rebuilding” or “starting over” doesn’t exist in Southern California. If you can’t win in Los Angeles, then you will not last long. The Los Angeles Lakers went all in 2020 and won an NBA Finals. The Los Angeles Dodgers went all in and won a World Series title in 2020. The Los Angeles Rams went all in 2021 and won a Super Bowl. It is all about winning in Los Angeles, nothing more, nothing less.
For the Los Angeles Rams to stay relevant in Los Angeles and not fall by the wayside in both their city and their conference, they must retool the roster. Head coach Sean McVay has contemplated retirement before and Amazon offered him a bag to be a part of their Thursday Night Football crew.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 28, 2022
McVay is only 26 years old. He recently got married, and has had success ever since being hired by the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. Up until this season, the Rams have never had a losing season. Sean McVay has done a fantastic job keeping this locker room together and playing for one another. It’s why he is considered one of the best coaches in the NFL. Earlier in November, NFL reporter Albert Breer had this interesting comment in regards to the future of Sean McVay.
#Rams coach Sean McVay's future with the team is tied to the "core group" of Donald, Kupp, Stafford and Ramsey and in all likelihood, once that group leaves, McVay will retire, according to @AlbertBreer pic.twitter.com/aaemjPnN4q
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 2, 2022
Basically, if Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald all leave the Los Angeles Rams, McVay will likely retire from coaching. Jalen Ramsey is 28 years old, Aaron Donald is 31 years old, Cooper Kupp is 29 years old, and Matthew Stafford is 34 years old. This core group of players aren’t too old to compete at a high level but they are getting up there in age. I believe Sean McVay knows deep down he could potentially have one more run with this core group. This season was marred with bad injury luck to the offensive line and key players. If you remove the injuries from this team, this team could very well still be contending in the NFC for a playoff spot.
For the Los Angeles Rams to do this retooling of the roster, they must free up cap space. In 2023, the Los Angeles Rams are projected to have a meager $6.85 million in cap space. To create cap space, the Los Angeles Rams should look to trade wide receiver Allen Robinson and starting edge rusher Leonard Floyd. Robinson and Floyd are good players but they aren’t worth the contracts that they signed. Trading Floyd has a dead cap hit of $19 million, and trading Robinson has a dead cap hit of $26 million. It is risky trading these two quality starters but the Rams have to clear up cap space in order to obtain better talent.
The offensive line suffered a ton of injuries, and the lack of depth from tackle to guard was evident. Currently, the Los Angeles Rams offensive line are tied for the most sacks allowed this season. Retooling the offensive line and getting everyone back healthy is key. Outside of Aaron Donald, the Rams don’t have a reliable pass rusher. If they choose to trade Leonard Floyd, they need to find an adequate replacement. Whether it is in the draft or in free agency, the Rams have to address the edge rusher position. The secondary also needs to improve as well. The Rams lack a second quality corner outside of Jalen Ramsey, and the safety position is extremely questionable.
As for the quarterback position, it depends on the health of Matthew Stafford, who signed a contract extension with the Rams this past offseason. Moving off Stafford would be a huge gamble. Stafford’s health is a question mark, as he suffered a spinal cord contusion and that injury could be career-threatening. The team acquired Baker Mayfield off of waivers, and some may believe he could take over in case Stafford chooses to retire.
Mayfield is a backup at best but he isn’t necessarily someone that can carry a team to a Super Bowl, but McVay took the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2018 with Jared Goff so anything could happen. Whether it is taking a quarterback in the draft in the later rounds or taking a flier on Baker Mayfield, they should look to address that position.
The Los Angeles Rams have had a difficult season this year but it doesn’t mean they should blow the team up after one bad year. Injuries to star players and their offensive line ruined any chance of a Super Bowl repeat they had this season. Los Angeles simply needs to reload, not rebuild the roster. Fix the offensive line, address the edge rusher and safety position, potentially retool the running back room, and have a backup plan at quarterback.
If they fix those issues in the near future, their contending window will reopen. One bad season shouldn’t signal a rebuild for a team that won a Super Bowl in 2021. Replenishing draft picks by trading players away can help with the reloading process, as well as spending money wisely in free agency. The Los Angeles Rams should reload, not rebuild their team.