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Just a few weeks ago, Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay celebrated his team’s Super Bowl victory. It did not last long as McVay and general manager Les Snead are now already deep in the planning of next season and how to secure another championship for the Rams.
“It has been such a whirlwind to say the least,” McVay said recently. “Now you’re starting to move forward. You want to keep so many basic elements in place while not being naive that it’s a whole new year.
“There’s going to be a lot of revenue … The first step for us is to try to sign as many of our own (free agents as possible).”
The Rams do not have a comprehensive list of potential free agents as they prepare to “run it back” in 2022. But the list includes some big names and significant contributors to the franchise’s first championship since 1999 and its first title in Los Angeles since 1951: wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., linebacker Von Miller, cornerback Darious Williams, guard Austin Corbett, center Brian Allen and running back Sony Michel.
Beckham and Miller were integrated pieces after being acquired by the Rams mid-season, as Beckham had seven touchdown receptions in 12 games (including playoffs) with the Rams after being released by the Cleveland Browns, while Miller had nine layoffs in 12 games (including playoffs), including two in the Super Bowl LVI, after being acquired from the Denver Broncos.
Williams has been a steady presence on corner kicks and nickels, Corbett and Allen both started on the offense, and Michel helped keep the Rams’ running game afloat after the Rams suffered injuries to running back Cam Akers – who missed 16 games with a torn Achilles. – and Darrell Henderson Jr., who missed five games in the regular season and three playoff games with a variety of foods.
Decisions on how to continue to retain these players are complicated by several factors, including the ACL, which Beckham tore in the Super Bowl, and a tight pay limit, as the Rams are about $ 17.5 million above the ceiling, according to ESPN’s Roster Management System. Others are the possible retirement of left-back tackle Andrew Whitworth, how to deal with All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald – who also hinted ahead of the Super Bowl and would stand in line for a raise if he returns – and an extension for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has one season left on his contract.
“There will definitely be a conscious plan and (an extension for Stafford) is part of it to make it all work,” Snead said. “But the plan that is on paper now is to tackle those players whose contracts expire because that’s what we know is going down and is most urgent.”
The Rams, depending on their success in retaining their own free agents, could be looking for help with wide receiver, offensive line, edge rusher and cornerback.
Snead indicated that the Rams would try to repurchase Beckham, though he will not be available when next season begins.
“We definitely wanted Odell to be separated (by the team),” Snead said. “You just know he might miss the first half of the season. The negative thing about it is that it’s just an unfortunate break. The positive thing is that you might get someone with very fresh legs for the stretch.”