5 LA Rams players who are unlikely to return in 2021

Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Free Agency
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Edge Rusher

Outside linebacker Samsun Ebukam has some promise.  He plays a valuable position on an NFL team. He shows flashes of development and maturation. But he needs more time, time that the LA Rams will not give him. Or likely won’t. The Rams simply have too many places to invest money, energy, and a valuable roster spot.

Ebukam is an edge rusher. He stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 245 pounds. He’s been productive, but not productive enough. He’s gotten to the quarterback 14 times over four seasons, including 4.5 quarterback sacks in 2020. But after topping the tackles at 48 in 2019, he fell to 31 tackles in 2020. Of course, that drop in production coincided with a steep decline of snaps. He lost 200 snaps on defense due to increased competition for playing time.

He’s coming off a year where he earned $2.2 million, and projects at an estimated $2.8 million/year for 2021 and beyond. At half that amount, he could fall within the Rams price range. But if he is firm on expecting a pay raise, he will likely be signing on with a new team. After all, he wants more defensive snaps, and the Rams just shaved his playing time by nearly 50 percent.

Of course, the Rams are facing 2021 far too shallow at Edge rusher. With the departure of both Leonard Floyd and Ebukam, the Rams enter the new season with just Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Terrell Lewis, and Justin Hollins at the position. All are young, none are proven, and at least one (Lewis) has not proven his durability to sustain a full 16-17 game schedule. Ideally, Ebukam would be welcomed back at the right price. That is likely to be far less than he is willing to sign for.