LA Rams focus upon bringing back defensive players this year
The LA Rams are certainly a tough team to try to predict by looking for any semblance of a repeatable pattern. The team has been surprisingly active early in the 2021 NFL Free Agency market. So far, the Rams have keyed upon defensive players. And yet, that wasn’t how the Rams played their offseason work as recently as last year.
In the 2020 offseason, the LA Rams had a wave of players projected to test free agency due to expired contracts. At that time, the expectation was that the Rams would attempt to retain some of the defensive players, and allow players from the weak offensive line to depart gracefully by signing on elsewhere. Instead, the Rams took their time, re-signed almost all of the team’s offensive linemen, and allowed defensive stars to sign on elsewhere.
So far, the Rams have acted to bring back ILB Travin Howard (ERFA), DB Darious Williams (RFA), and OLB Leonard Floyd (UFA). The only re-signed player on the offensive side of the ball so far has been IOL Coleman Shelton (ERFA). And although the new NFL season has not officially arrived, the efforts so far are concentrated on the defensive side of the ball.
No pattern to the Rams roster build
Of course, the pattern did change the Rams finally stepped up to the podium in the 2020 NFL Draft. After choosing two offensive skill players, the Rams settled in on the defensive side of the ball and added an outside linebacker, two safeties, and an inside linebacker.
If the same pattern as a year ago develops, the Rams defense may find an early player taken in round two (if not an offensive center), and then be content with a couple of late-round additions as well as the likelihood of rounding out the training camp roster with undrafted free agents.
The LA Rams currently boast 66 players signed for 2021. with six draft picks, the Rams will have an additional 18 roster spots to fill either from free agency or by undrafted player signings after the draft.
On the defensive side of the ball, the LA Rams currently can field 32 players from the following positions:
Cornerbacks – 5
Defensive linemen – 9
Safeties – 7
Inside linebackers – 5
Outside linebackers – 6
While that is close to half of the current roster, the team will likely want to add anywhere from eight to ten additional players for the full 90 man roster. Where will the remaining talent be added? Well, the Rams are clearly focused heavily upon defensive backs, and ideally collegiate football players who have a bit of cornerback as well as some safety experience.
It will be difficult to look for any future moves by the Rams until we have a better understanding of the team’s salary cap situation. Have the players and team agreed to find the complete savings with existing contracts by shifting or pulling out money? Or is part of the way the Rams pay for new signings folded into future cuts that we have yet to witness. And those cuts, wherever they may arise, will, in turn, cause additional holes in the roster?
Until we know more, this is the best we can come up with. The Rams defense, even with simply two players re-signed quickly, is certainly poised to return to the lofty expectations set by the Top-NFL ranking in 2020.