There’s a saying that goes “all good things must come to an end” and it looks like that may soon be the case for the Los Angeles Rams.
After winning the Super Bowl a year ago, the Rams were very vocal about wanting to run things back and become the first repeat NFL champions in two decades.
Things didn’t play out that way in 2022, however, as the Rams were decimated by injuries and wound up finishing 5-12 as a result.
Because of how poorly the 2022 season went, the Rams went into this offseason with a number of questions. Will Sean McVay step away from coaching to be around his family and pursue a career in media? Will Aaron Donald retire after flirting with the idea when the Rams won the Super Bowl? Might Matthew Stafford consider retiring after dealing with head and neck injuries that put an end to his 2022 season? Will Jalen Ramsey be shopped on the trade market with a rebuild on the horizon?
The good news for Rams fans is that most of these questions have been answered already with McVay, Donald and Stafford all returning in 2023, signifying that L.A. will look to bounce back and get back in championship contention.
The bad news for Rams fans, however, is that the 2023 season may be the last hurrah for this nucleus.
MMQB’s Conor Orr recently put together predictions for all 32 teams, and he believes the Rams could have a “mass exodus” at the conclusion of the 2023 season:
“They will try to buttress themselves against a mass exodus at season’s end.
Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay … this was a wonderful experiment that yielded a Super Bowl trophy but is now coming to a close. While Stafford’s deal keeps him in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future, we don’t know what another year of physicality and grind will bring. Donald, too, has more incentive to walk away after this season, perhaps one in which he can cement himself as the greatest defensive tackle of all time. McVay, who has talked so frequently about burnout, will go explore life a bit before recharging his batteries.”
Anyone who follows the Rams closely has known for a while that this is a legit possibility. Guys like McVay and Donald haven’t flirted with retirement for no reason, it’s clear that is something they have seriously considered on multiple occasions.
After how poorly the 2022 season went though, I think it’s also clear that McVay, Donald and the rest of the Rams do not want to go out on that note. That’s why I also wasn’t surprised to see them decide to return for the 2023 season.
What this report means for this offseason
If the Rams are going to be more successful in 2023 though, then some necessary changes will be made. L.A. has already begun remodeling its coaching staff, and the roster is the next order of business once free agency and the draft come around.
But if this report is to be believed and this really is the last hurrah for the Rams, then I think they owe it to themselves and the fans to do what they do best and go all in one more time.
That doesn’t necessarily mean trading first-round picks as the Rams have done in the past, although I would absolutely be open to that if there’s a deal out there that makes sense.
What it does mean though is that L.A. should not hesitate to restructure contracts and push money down the line to 2024-26.
Whatever you can do to bring in talent that can help the Rams win in 2023 should be done. If that means the team sucks and goes through a full rebuild in 2024 and beyond, then so be it.
This Rams nucleus has been one of the most successful groups in the NFL in recent years, and the fact that they already won one Super Bowl makes me OK with the inevitable rebuild. But in my opinion, if you have a shot to win a second Super Bowl then you have to go for it and live with the results later.
How awesome would it be to see McVay, Donald and Stafford go out on top one more time?
Even though the Rams went 5-12 in 2022, there are still plenty of pieces in place to compete with better health. If this is gonna be the last hurrah, the Rams should at least give themselves the very best chance possible to make the 2023 season a memorable one.