The Los Angeles Rams‘ 2022 season has not gone as planned as the defending Super Bowl champs are in serious danger of missing the postseason after starting off 3-6. Here, we are breaking down all of the key 2023 Rams free agents.
A lot has gone wrong for the Rams in their title defense season as they have been decimated by injuries while other key players and signings haven’t lived up to expectations.
With it looking like this season will end prematurely for the L.A., it’s almost time to start looking ahead to 2023 and beyond and that is exactly what we’re going to do here.
Even though 2022 is a lost season, the Rams’ window will still be open in 2023 as they still employ stars like Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and Bobby Wagner.
While L.A. doesn’t currently have any cap space for next year, they can always open up some by making some roster cuts and restructuring some contracts as they have done in years past.
With that being said, here is a breakdown of L.A.’s key free agents in 2023 and if it would make sense to re-sign them or let them walk.
It’s no secret that the Rams’ offensive line has struggled in 2022, mostly due to injuries. Guard David Edwards has been a nice find for the Rams after being selected in the fifth round in 2019 out of Wisconsin.
Edwards has been a starter for L.A. for the better part of four years although he has been limited to just four games this season due to multiple concussions. He is expected to return to action this week, however.
Offensive line is surely something the Rams will need to address this offseason and re-signing Edwards could go a long way if it’s at a reasonable price. Unless the Rams have insight that Edwards’ concussions will continue to be a problem moving forward, he should be someone they look to bring back.
Most of the Rams’ free agents will be on the defensive side of the ball and perhaps none of them more important than Greg Gaines.
While Gaines’ stats do not jump off the page as an interior rusher (7.5 career sacks in 51 games), he has been a key force in the run game and someone Donald has stated he enjoys playing with.
The Rams will need to dedicate a lot of their resources this offseason to fixing their offense, but if they’re gonna bring back any of their defensive free agents, it should be Gaines.
While it doesn’t fall entirely on Darrell Henderson, the Rams’ run game has been non-existent over the last few years with him as the lead back.
Ideally Henderson’s role would be limited as a change-of-pace back, but due to injuries and lack of talent at the position for L.A., he has been the primary guy at running back.
Henderson had solid years in 2020 and 2021, averaging 4.5 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively. He has seen that number decrease to 4.0 yards per carry this year though, rushing for 274 yards and three touchdowns in nine games.
The Rams will need to address the running back position this offseason, but a return for Henderson seems unlikely unless it’s at a serious bargain.
After letting Von Miller walk last offseason, the Rams were relying on some of their younger pass rushers to fill that void with Justin Hollins being at the top of that list.
Unfortunately, Hollins has been unable to produce for L.A. in 2022 as he has just one sack in nine games. There is some upside there, but Hollins returning to the Rams in free agency seems very unlikely.
Taylor Rapp was a second-round pick of the Rams out of Washington in 2019. He has been a starter and played a majority of the snaps at safety in all four of his seasons but seems to constantly be the weak link in an otherwise stout L.A. defense.
Rapp has yet to come up with a turnover in 2022 and has just 21 solo tackles in eight games. While he played a big role in the Rams’ Super Bowl run, they have some other young safeties that they like so I would expect Rapp to be playing elsewhere next season.
Similar to Gaines, A’Shawn Robinson has played a big role in the Rams’ run defense up the middle. He cannot play every snap, rather serving as a rotational piece on the Rams’ defensive line as a backup to Gaines.
If the Rams were to get outpriced for Gaines in free agency, I can see them bringing back Robinson at a cheaper rate.
Nick Scott is the other Rams free-agent safety that has started opposite Rapp for most of this season. Despite being a seventh-round draft pick though, he has been the more productive player in 2022 with 30 solo tackles, an interception, two forced fumbles and three passes defended.
As previously mentioned, the Rams have some young safeties they like in Jordan Fuller and Quentin Lake so they may prioritize other positions in free agency. If it comes cheap enough though, I’d like to see them bring back Scott as he plays hard and is a great story for L.A.