As the LA Rams prepare to fill roster needs this off-season, the team may lose many key players. The silver lining is that could mean the Rams harvest four addition compensatory draft picks heading for the 2021 NFL Draft
The LA Rams love to wheel and deal when it comes to the annual allotment of NFL Draft picks. In 2020, the Rams had traded their picks in round one and round five, leaving the team just five picks. An additional pick will likely be awarded to the team as a fourth round compensatory pick. If fans hoped for relief the following year, there is another letdown in the making.
Thanks to trading for CB Jalen Ramsey and other transactions, the LA Rams picks projected for the 2021 NFL Draft are even fewer in number. That year, the Rams will likely select in rounds two, three, six, and seven. From a strategic standpoint, four draft picks and little salary cap space for several consecutive years will hurt the Rams chances of remaining competitive.
But the NFL has a bit of a remedy in the works. The NFL awards 32 compensatory picks to teams who lose more or higher priced free agents than they are able to sign in the off-season. The ceiling for picks are no higher than the end of round three, and no more than four picks can be awarded to any one team.
The aftermath of the 2020 free agency market for the LA Rams may very likely place the team into a situation resulting in multiple compensatory picks being awarded in time for the 2021 NFL Draft. That number could approach the maximum number of four. While that certainly won’t make the difference between playing in Super Bowl 56, it can help the team dramatically with their annual salary cap struggles.
Right now the team could lose OLB Dante Fowler Jr (esti $14 m/year), ILB Cory Littleton (est. $13 m/year), Michael Brockers (est. $14 m/year), LT Andrew Whitworth (est. $8 m/year), G Austin Blythe (est. $7 m/year). That amount of players leaving via free agency, with no equivalent signings offset to the roster, would mean a bounty of compensatory picks in 2021.
There is a matter of the 2020 season with fewer defensive and offensive stars in the ranks. Perhaps the team can find some players who can step up this year. Still, there was not much depth in the ranks at the positions where players are likely to move on from the team. That could be a larger problem than first estimated with no first round draft pick and too much disparity of salary on the current roster. The best option for the team would be to retain their players. Since that may not happen, the Rams must nail the 2020 NFL Draft, develop players in training camp, and hope for a bit of luck this year.