Terrell Lewis on COVID-19 reserve, will LA Rams re-sign OLB Matthews?

With LA Rams rookie OLB Terrell Lewis placed on the team’s COVID-19 reserve list, should the LA Rams re-sign OLB Clay Matthews to pick up the slack?

The schedule for the LA Rams 2020 NFL season has zero wiggle room. None. Nada. With no preseason games, the Rams were already hard-pressed to get rookies up to playing speed for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. While the initial depth chart has rookie OLB Terrell Lewis as the primary reserve at the outside linebacker depth chart, the Rams are quite eager to get him into the rotation as quickly as possible.

And then there was the news from July 31, 2020.  Rookie Terrell Lewis has been placed on the team’s COVID-19 reserve list. He joins rookie defensive tackle Michael Hoecht on that list.  Players are placed on the team’s COVID-19 reserve list if they have come into close proximity to someone who had tested positive, or if they themselves test positive for COVID-19. They will likely remain on the reserve list until they test negative for two consecutive tests. Typically, the wait will delay their return to the team for 10 days.

Delays deadly for rookies this year

Since the team is just now entering the period for organized team activities (OTAs), including strength and conditioning, and walk-through practices,  missing the next 10 days will place Lewis far behind the team, and even other rookies, on the learning curve.  While that can be made up in the course of the season, it’ places the hopes for Lewis making an immediate impact for the LA Rams on life support.

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The Rams have plenty of depth at the OLB position to carry the team through if need be. Right now, the team is clinging to the health of veteran OLB Leonard Floyd and Samsun Ebukam. But any change to their health will force Ogbonnia Okoronkwo into a starting role, and really push the Rams to develop other players rapidly, or…

Re-Sign OLB Clay Matthews

While the LA Rams cut Matthews due to salary cap constraints, Matthews was a very productive player for the team. in just 13 games for the team in 2019, he chalked up 37 tackles, eight quarterback sacks, three defended passes, nine tackles for a loss, and 11 QB hits.  And best of all, he knows the LA Rams team.  Unfortunately, that may have ended on bad terms as Matthews filed a grievance over the Rams delay of paying him $2 million in guaranteed money.

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Still, he made $5.5 million to play for the Rams in 2019.  He could be signed for as little as $2 million for a one-year prove-it deal. Even if he sees limited action, his presence adds a savvy NFL veteran who can deliver quality defensive snaps in the rotation while Lewis gets up to speed. Terrell Lewis will be a star for the Rams off the edge. In the meantime, the Rams will need roster help until Lewis is ready to go.  Matthews is unsigned.  Sounds like a call to his agent should be high on the Rams list of things to do come Monday morning.

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