Los Angeles Rams NFL Offseason Preview – NFL Nation

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THOUSAND EGE, California – The Los Angeles Rams went all-in with daring trades and bold signings to secure a performance in the Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium, owns Stan Kroenke’s $ 5 billion masterpiece.

And it worked.

In their fifth season under Sean McVay, who at age 36 is still the youngest head coach in the NFL, the Rams won a third division title, a second conference championship and captured the Lombardi Trophy with a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl LVI.

Cooper Kupp was named the game’s MVP, ending a historic season in which he became the fourth player since the merger in 1970 to achieve the “Triple Crown” as league leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Coup, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey were named the first-team All-Pro.

Movements that once seemed wild, if not a range taken into account the cost and the capital provided, proved to be worth it – at least for now.

That includes the blockbuster deal that took place in January 2021 that sent quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Another megadeal ahead of the trade deadline in November sent a second and third-round pick to the Denver Broncos to acquire All-Pro pass-rusher Von Miller. One week later, Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. signed. to a one-year free-agent contract following his release from the Cleveland Browns.

Beckham tore the ACL in his left knee in the Super Bowl after scoring the game’s first touchdown, while Miller and Donald led a passing rush that fired Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow seven times, setting a Super Bowl record.

Expected salary cap: $ 8,006,535 above the expected ceiling

Top Free Agents: WR Beckham, Miller, CB Darious Williams, RG Austin Corbett, C Brian Allen, OT Joe Noteboom

Potential cutback candidates: No, the Rams will not directly cut left tackle Andrew Whitworth, but the two sides may decide that retirement would be best due to wage ceiling constraints. Whitworth has a season left on a $ 30 million three-year deal, and a payout in his contract could save the Rams $ 15.5 million against the ceiling. They also have a clear opportunity to fill the void in Noteboom, which will be an unlimited free agent after four seasons as Whitworth’s backup.

The big question: Will McVay and Donald both return? Two days before McVay became the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl, he openly considered his future while talking about trying to find the ideal work-life balance while preparing to get married and start a family. These comments came on the heels of sources who reiterated to ESPN that McVay has considered moving to the broadcast booth. Donald’s future suddenly became uncertain with a report before the Super Bowl that he could retire if the Rams win, an option he did not rule out afterwards.

What you need to know: The Rams want work to do to make their roster work against the pay ceiling. Stafford enters the final season of a $ 135 million five-year contract and is due to be extended. While it will be expensive for the Rams, as the 13-year-old pro has now proven that he is not only capable of winning the playoffs, but that he is leading a team to a Super Bowl title, it could also provide some relief to spread Stafford’s numbers over several seasons.

Best scenario for the team’s offseason: McVay and Donald both return, and the Rams continue to exercise their magic in finding creative ways to accommodate all of their stars below the pay ceiling. It really comes down to finding a way to re-sign Miller and Beckham, who have both expressed interest in staying in Los Angeles.

Worst-case scenario for the team’s offseason: Unable to find creative solutions to their payroll problems, the Rams lose free agents Miller, Beckham, Williams and two starters from their offensive line – Allen and Corbett, who have the ability to earn more elsewhere. Although Beckham’s departure would not be devastating with Robert Woods set to return from his knee injury in November, it will be difficult to find replacements for Miller, Williams and Allen as a minimum. Losing either McVay or Donald would also be disastrous, especially with offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell – who was once a logical candidate to replace McVay – taking on the Minnesota Vikings’ coaching job.

Early look at the NFL draft from ESPN analyst Jordan Reid: After winning the Super Bowl, there can be many moving parts with the Rams’ staff. Replacing Andrew Whitworth, Brian Allen and Austin Corbett along the offensive line may be options, but general manager Les Snead could also supplement with young talent to create depth along the defensive line.

Top needs: OL, DL, DB

Top picks: Round 3 compensatory (TBD selection)


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