Can the LA Rams survive without spending in 2020 NFL Free Agency?

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** Les Snead
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** Les Snead /
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LA Rams
(Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images) /


The LA Rams are mid-point at a curious transition in 2020. While the team has retained the head coach and many positional coaches, the team has three new coordinators. The impact of Kevin O’Connell will likely not change much.

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The addition of O’Connell will likely add a new perspective to the Rams offense, not an entirely new playbook. Still, with the resurgence of the fullback position among successful NFL offenses, the Rams appear prepared to add a fullback to the offensive roster in 2020.

The Rams’ special teams will also be only lightly affected this off-season. The team annually recruits young players who can fly down the field, block, and or tackle into the special teams’ group. The team just signed punter Johnny Hekker to a five-year deal in 2019. But kicker Greg Zuerlein is an unrestricted free agent in 2020. With new coordinator John Bonamego, will the Rams pay to bring back Zuerlein? Or is this a year when the team holds tryouts in training camp and signs the best of the lot to an inexpensive contract? The Rams 2020 budget seems to support the latter scenario.

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The LA Rams defense will likely have the more sweeping personnel changes. Free agency alone will cost the defense 4 out of 11 starters. Retiring safety Eric Weddle will cost the team one more starter. Slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman is on a team option year on his contract. If the Rams pass on picking up his $4.5 million option, that is a total of six new starters out of 11 total. Facing those numbers, with little relief on the salary cap, is very convincing that the Rams focus throughout the 2020 NFL Draft will be upon the defense.

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But perhaps not along the same lines as previously believed. New defensive coordinator Brandon Staley will need versatile defenders in 2020. Defensives backs strong enough to fit nickel linebacker roles. Edge rushers who are tough enough to plant a hand like a defensive lineman. Defensive linemen who can pull out of a three-point stance and provide some pass coverage. The Rams are transforming, or TRAMSforming, from a strong defense to a stealth defense.