5 Most Important Rams Offseason Decisions

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odell beckham

For the Los Angeles Rams, the off-season is here.

There isn’t that much interest in the Super Bowl Sunday, although hardcore Ram fans can look for former Rams tight end Kendall Blanton with the Chiefs (he’s on the practice squad).

The Rams are coming off a 5-12 campaign and as of Thursday morning, still aren’t locked in on a defensive coordinator while they wait to see what happens with Raheem Morris and the Colts, or maybe the Cardinals.

But Coach Sean McVay did reaffirm his commitment to the franchise, which is good, but the Rams have work to do to catch the San Francisco 49ers and the rest of the NFC West.

Remember the Rams do have draft capital this year to fill some holes, and don’t buy any of the bull about the salary cap. Smart general managers and coaches don’t let the salary cap keep them from getting the players they -really- want. Google voidable years and you’ll understand. And the Rams have made some personnel mistakes lately, but no one would say they’re cheap.

Here are the five biggest questions for the Rams heading into the off-season.

Baker Maybe?

Quarterback Baker Mayfield gave the Rams a jolt of energy (and publicity) down the stretch when he joined the team at for the final five games of the regular season.

At that point the Rams were playing out the string. Everyone was hurt. Matthew Stafford was hurt. Aaron Donald was hurt. Cooper Kupp was hurt. The offensive line was hurt.

Mayfield had some moments, right? He had the game-winning drive to beat the Raiders and he was part of the butt-kicking of the Broncos on Christmas Day, but I’d say it was hard to evaluate him with so many frontline guys missing.

Mayfield is a free agent now, and what do the Rams want to do with him? Stafford is coming back. He’s the starter, but he’s not young. Does Mayfield want to go somewhere and become a starter again, or would he take some good money to hang out in LA for a while and see what happens here?

OBJ, Please Come Home

Any Ram fan must be heartened by the fact that Odell Beckham Jr. did not sign with another team during the end of the NFL season.

The Rams gave Beckham Jr. a chance when he had been dumped by the Browns and he was a star in the 2022 playoffs and Super Bowl before his cruel injury. Beckham Jr. just has the star power the Rams need and they both know that.

I’d also say that everyone knows Cooper Kupp is the goods, but he’s coming off the first real injury of his NFL career and so the Rams might make bringing back Odell a top priority.

Paying The A

Lost in the injury debacle that was the Rams 2022 season was the torn meniscus suffered by defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson in Week 10. Robinson missed the rest of the season and is now a free agent.

When healthy, which he has been for most of his career, Robinson is the hulking defensive tackle good NFL teams need to swallow double teams and keep teams from running the ball. But how much do the Rams want to pay A’Shawn? He will command maybe $10 million a year on the open market (Donald is making $13.5 million). Robinson might be worth it.

Secondary Situation

The NFL is a passing league and you can never have enough guys who can run and cover.

But the Rams may have a few too many.

Los Angeles used 11 different defensive backs in 2022, only three played in every game: Jalen Ramsey who led the Rams with four picks, Nick Scott who had 86 tackles and Robert Rochell, who mainly played special teams.

The Rams just have a glut of secondary players, which is why….and I don’t like the idea either… but trading Ramsey does make sense on some level, because is he really -that much- better than the other Rams back there?

Five Ram DBs are now free agents: Taylor Rapp, who led the secondary with 92 tackles and was a second-round pick in 2019, David Long who played in 12 games last year and was a third-round pick in 2019, Scott, Troy Hill and Grant Haley.

They can’t all stay, you can only pay some of them.

Throw Jordan Fuller in the mix. Fuller missed the end of the Super Bowl season with an injury and then hurt his hamstring early this year and never played again.

It will be interesting to see who the Rams prioritize in the secondary this off-season.

Get A Punter

The Rams let punter Johnny Hekker go last year and he signed a three-year $7.6 million dollar deal with the Panthers. In his place, the Rams brought in Riley Dixon on a one-year deal.

Head-to-head this season, it’s not close.

Dixon ranked 11th in the NFL in punting average: 48.4 yards. Hekker was ninth.

Dixon ranked 13th in net average. Hekker was third.

Hekker led the NFL in punts downed inside the 20 with 39. Dixon only had 19, which was 26th in the NFL.

In other words, the Rams went cheap on a punter and it showed.

A punter is another arm of your defense. His ability to pin teams back or flip the field may not look important on the surface, but it is. Look at it this way, would you rather a team have to drive 90 yards or 70 yards against your defense. That’s where the punter comes in.

The Rams need a punter upgrade in 2023.