V – Bring ’em back
The trick to making money in practically any investment vehicle is to buy low and sell high. The Rams were the first team to apply that fundamental business practice so completely to their NFL roster. At the end of the 2019 season, the LA Rams faced expiring contracts of Coleman Shelton, Johnny Mundt, Andrew Whitworth, and Austin Blythe. The LA Rams faced a number of difficult decisions over the players to re-sign while allowing many players to test the NFL Free Agency market.
After the dust settled, the Rams had brought all offensive lineman back for another go of it. And it was that act of re-signing all 2019 offensive linemen for 2020 that was the boldest and shrewdest gamble of the entire offseason. After all, the Rams had the perfect “out” if they had wanted to part ways with any of their players. Their contracts had expired. They had younger prospects in the pipeline. If they had chosen to walk away, they simply needed to stand still and let events carry the players off organically.
All for one and one for all
But the Rams did not remain still. The team reached out to all offensive linemen. Not just to sign the cornerstone of the offensive line in Andrew Whitworth, but all three offensive linemen, plus blocking tight end Johnny Mundt. There was an all-for-one-and-one-for-all message embedded in the uniform approach to bringing everyone back.
However else you may see it, the actions of the organization to bring everyone back was a huge step to building a cohesive unit for 2020. Offensive linemen are the unthanked overlooked players on a team. When they do a good job, the quarterback, receivers, and running backs get huge contracts. When they don’t do their job, their job is on the line. All they have is each other. The Rams recognized that bond and reinforced it this year. This was an ingenious way to start in 2020. But the Rams were still not done just yet.