Matt Gay – kicker
Johnny Hekker – punter
Matthew Orzech – long snapper
Yes, the Rams front office threw everyone a curveball today. The Rams had taken the two-punter competition between Johnny Hekker and Corey Bojorquez down to the final hour before roster cuts. For a variety of sentimental and steadfast reasons, the coaching staff seemed hell-bent on keeping Johnny Hekker. But there were just two problems: Johnny Hekker was nearly five times the cost of Corey Bojorquez. And Borjorquez put up a nearly perfect game against the Denver Broncos.
So the Rams front office worked feverishly on two fronts. First, the team reworked Johnny Hekker’s contract to reduce the strong cost disadvantage. Secondly, the front office measured the interest of other NFL teams and found that hands-down the interest was strongly in favor of the cheaper Bojorquez. So the Rams negotiated a deal with the Green Bay Packers that sent both Bojorquez and a 2023 seventh-round pick in their direction, and in return get a 2023 sixth-round pick. Now keep in mind that Corey Bojorquez was a free agent signing in 2021. The Rams shrewdly leveraged contract concessions from Johnny Hekker (he was way overpriced to the market, folks) and got a draft pick swap from the Packers for their troubles. An excellent return on investment.
Initial 53-man roster summary
Over 90 percent of the LA Rams roster activity occurred in the last 30 minutes or so, resulting in a need to step back and assess the impact of roster moves. For the most part, there are few surprises. The team committed to veterans over rookies, known over the unknown, and shifted the emphasis (at least by sheer numbers) to the defensive side of the ball.
While this is the initial roster makeup, I’m not completely convinced that more work is not needed. Obviously, the team roster sits at 53 players, but both Johnny Hekker and now Coleman Shelton are additional players who are currently designated as on the reserve/COVID-19 roster. That will likely change as the Rams covert Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to Injured Reserve, freeing up a space for Johnny Hekker to return. The team may also designate Ben Skowronek to IR for a short duration, allowing the activation of Coleman Shelton when he can depart COVID-19 protocols.
Still, the numbers, as tight as they are, seem to have left the Rams a bit light at running back, wide receiver, and outside linebacker. I don’t have clearly defined ideas just yet as to how the team alleviates those shortages, but I do expect at least one player from each position to be signed to the team’s practice squad.
This is just the first review. As soon as we get our arms around the practice squad, we’ll be back to look at positional groups more in-depth.