Report: Sean McVay’s Future ‘Probably’ Tied To Rams Core Players

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The Los Angeles Rams have a Core Four and Sean McVay is saying he’s ride or die with them.

Speaking on the Rich Eisen Show, the MMQB’s lead NFL writer Albert Breer said that the Rams coach has tethered himself to Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and wide receiver Cooper Kupp and once they go, McVay will probably be gone too.

“McVay’s future with the team is probably tied to those four guys,” Breer said.

Breer went on to talk about the Rams big offer for running back Christian McCaffrey that was topped by San Francisco, and their mammoth offer for Panthers defensive end Brian Burns.

Breer continued:

“The way they look at it is, we have to do everything we can to maximize what we have now, because we have a special, special coach and we have a special core of players, maybe it lasts for a year, maybe five.”

Most interestingly to me, at least, was Breer talking about the Rams desperate to acquire some pass rush help.

Who is Breer talking to and what about this strategy? Does this Core Four have another Super Bowl in them?

What Was Said, What Was Meant

Fans should always read between the lines anytime a media person comes out with this type of information. The first thing they should wonder is, who’s the source?

In this case, it’s obvious that the source is probably McVay himself. Yes, NFL coaches do like and talk to different media people and let them know what they are thinking. Why? Because the media person acts as someone who also knows other happenings in the league and can share information back.

Is there a little bit of clapback here at the Rams Core Four right now? Is McVay almost telling those guys he needs them to play better? That would be one way to send a message.

Kupp has been brilliant this year, Donald steady, but not spectacular (probably because offenses can account for him on every play and not worry about anyone else). Stafford has been fine, not great, Ramsey has had his moments.

But this could also be McVay’s way of saying “guys, this is you team, get it done.”

I also don’t believe McVay is forever tethered to these guys. Bill Belichick is still coaching without Tom Brady. If the right offer comes along for McVay at a different franchise, he’ll jump.

What’s The Clock on the Core Four?

Ramsey is the youngest of the bunch in his seventh year, a five-time Pro Bowl choice. The Rams made a big deal to get him out of Jacksonville. He has elite skills. He’s 28. That’s not old and not young in NFL years.

Kupp is in his sixth year. He was the Super Bowl MVP. He’s WR1 in the NFL right now. Donald has been to eight Pro Bowls. He’s 31 and just signed a monster contract. He’s been to eight Pro Bowls.

Stafford is 34. He’s been in the NFL for 14 years. He doesn’t really look like a Tom Brady/Drew Brees type who can play until he’s 40 plus, he’s just got too many hits under his belt (thanks Lions).

Stafford will probably be the first member of the group to retire, barring any injuries. He’s signed through 2026. The NFL is such a quarterback game, when you don’t have a good one, you flounder. The Rams will have to start preparing for life after Stafford sooner or later.

Ride Or Die? Or Just Die?

The Rams have been to two Super Bowls under McVay, losing one and winning last year. It’s so hard for teams who win Super Bowls the following year because there is natural roster churn and people come and take your players (the Rams lost Von Miller to the Bills and Andrew Whitworth to retirement).

You need to restock and rebuild parts of your roster every year, but when you just won a Super Bowl, loyalty wins out. Why would you dump a player when they just won the Super Bowl?

But it’s hard because in the NFL, if you aren’t improving, you’re getting left behind. The Rams are 3-5 right now. Yes, it’s a long season, but they don’t look sharp. They don’t look fresh, young and fast like the Bills, Chiefs or Eagles now. The Niners were the team that looked that way on Sunday, taking the Rams apart in the second half.

The Rams At A Crossroads

A lot of NFL teams would take the Rams situation. McVay is well-liked by his players. His offensive scheme is still top-notch. The team plays hard each week.

I go back to the Rams team across town, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers mortgaged their future and won an NBA title with LeBron James in 2020. Now, they have limited draft picks, limited depth, and aging talent.

The hard truth is there’s no easy solution. You either blow the whole thing up and start over from scratch or you try to piece things together with a player here or there.

McCaffrey is the perfect example. The Rams couldn’t outbid the Niners because they don’t have the same assets to offer. Those assets aren’t coming back. So you get stuck in this loop where you can’t improve significantly because you already made the big deals. The same thing has happened to the Lakers.

The bad news for the Rams is that Donald, Stafford, Kupp and Ramsey aren’t getting any younger. The good news though is that the regular season in the NFL (really all professional sports these days) is meaningless. Like the Lakers, the Rams need to hope they can win enough games to get into the playoffs and get hot at the right time. They’ve done it before. The hope is they can do it again.