Very doable: LA Rams roster and retaining 2022 free agents

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Rams Roster Cam Akers
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Who stays?

While there is certainly a lot of football remaining, the fact is that the team invested in young players with the expectation that they would be ready to compete for a starting role, or at the very least, a rotational role, in 2022.  But that may be hampered by the fact that so many rookies have been injured and lost for the rest of the 2021 NFL season.

So let’s examine who may be returning in 2022 from injury first, and see where the Rams can expect to be reinforced on the roster before the team goes about extending players to round out the roster.

Injured starters (not free agents)

From the moment that the LA Rams learned of a season-ending injury to projected starting running back, Cam Akers, the offensive game plan was hastily rewritten. Akers was going to be bell-cow running back, and that would be the ground game counterweight to the anticipated deep route running passing game. That deep passing game appeared, but without strong running to keep defenses honest, it evaporated just as quickly.

An equally negative impacting injury occurred at mid-season when veteran wide receiver Robert Woods injured his ACL in practice. Woods is the perfect complementary receiver to Cooper Kupp, and his play on the field goes far beyond catching the football.

The LA Rams lost an incredibly versatile linebacker when Justin Hollins fell to injury. A young talented tackler who is gifted at both the outside and inside linebacker roles, his absence forced the Rams to trade for veteran outside linebacker Von Miller at the trade deadline.

Injured role players (not free agents)

Running back Jake Funk‘s injury negated his progress as a returner, and eliminated the chance to earn a larger role on the offense.
The LA Rams had big plans for WR Tutu Atwell. Unfortunately, he never showed that NFL role-playing potential yet.
There was a lot of buzz over WR/TE Jacob Harris and his NFL potential. But he fell to injury before contributing to the offense.