LA Rams training camp focus as Cardinals 49ers Seahawks do arms race

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams
(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams are sitting this one out. Meanwhile, NFC West rival Cardinals 49ers and Seahawks are in a mini arms race

The LA Rams have been a trendsetter in terms of rolling dice on player transactions in recent years. In his past, Rams general manager Les Snead has been the king of wheeling-and-dealing. He has traded for players who can help the team. Think of the trades for Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters. And then, when the Rams had a chance to trade for Jalen Ramsey, the same Rams traded away both Talib and Peters.

Suffice it to say that GM Snead has never met a deal he didn’t like enough to consider.  So what’s with the latest austerity program?  To be honest, it’s kind of nice to witness. The Rams are reforming from a team that wheels and deals to get better to a team willing to watch free agents get big paydays because they have a plan in place to address the big-four positions and will let the rest of the roster work itself out.

Rams set at key positions

Those key positions are franchise quarterback (Jared Goff), pass rusher (Aaron Donal), backside blocker (Andrew Whitworth), and shutdown corner (Jalen Ramsy).  If that is indeed their plan, it’s a good one.  After all, the NFL salary cap allows teams to invest in a limited number of positions.  Which positions are most critical to winning an NFL Championship?  Those four.

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That’s not to say that the Rams can go with the minimum salary on the rest of the team. Players who perform well need to receive just compensation. But with few arrows to shoot, NFL teams must wisely choose which targets to aim at. That is where the Rams seem to be right now. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the other three NFC West teams, all of whom are heavily engaged in an arms race this off-season. What do I mean? Let’s discuss the Arizona Cardinals for one example: