Very doable: LA Rams roster and retaining 2022 free agents

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
4 of 6
LA Rams News Rams Roster Matt Gay
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s go shopping – $12.7 million

So now that we have a basic idea of the Rams 2022 roster makeup of 39 players, and the intention of getting to a solid 53 starting capable roster, we can begin to shop for the free agents who will round out the team’s roster.

Of course, we know that the Rams will have a projected eight draft picks to use in the 2022 NFL Draft. But we know that the Rams will be shopping for future contributors, not immediate starters, in the draft. So how do the Rams find 14 players who can make their 53-man roster? Well, let’s dive right in.

Must extend (4) – estimated $9.3 million

The LA Rams may be looking at a lot of players, but of the group, there is a subset of ‘must extend’ players. What do I mean? Well, I think you will understand once we list them:

Placekicker Matt Gay (RFA) – estimated value 2022 contract – $2.0 million – is the first must extend. We know full well that the LA Rams have almost no strong points on special teams besides the ability of Matt Gay to consistently put points on the scoreboard.

Quarterback John Wolford (ERFA) – estimated value 2025 contract – $825,000. Whether or not you believe in backup quarterback John Wolford, LA Rams head coach Sean McVay absolutely loves the guy. Of course, it’s easy to love a backup who is inexpensive and doesn’t play in games.

If the LA Rams want to bargain shop at the offensive line, then re-signing offensive center Coleman Shelton (RFA) – Qualifying offer: Right of First Refusal – $2.4 million – is the right choice. His cost is less than half of starter Brian Allen, yet his potential has a higher ceiling.

Another bargain basement offensive lineman – offensives tackle Joseph Noteboom – estimated value 2022 contract – $4.0 million – is a must. He has been groomed to step in cold at the left tackle position, and he has done so very effectively. Shopping for a starter at left tackle could set the team back $20 million or more.  With the likely retirement of the venerable Andrew Whitworth, the Rams cannot roll the dice at left tackle.

Too cheap to part with (4) – $3.5 million

ILB Travin Howard (ERFA) – estimated value 2022 contract – $825 K
Travin Howard is a quality niche player for the Rams, with the ability to step into the defense or special teams.
DB Juju Hughes (ERFA) – estimated value 2022 contract – $825 K
Juju Hughes is another quality player, a contributor to the Rams’ secondary and special teams.
OLB Jamir Jones  (ERFA) – estimated value 2022 contract – $825 K
Jamir Jones is a fierce snarler type of competitor who is at home on the football field in any role.
TE Johnny Mundt – estimated value 2022 contract – $1.0 million
Johnny Mundt is the LA Rams swiss-army knife. Without him, the offense appears to be completely lost.

If the Rams follow this route, the team will already be to 47 and need just 6 more quality players to round out their roster. Of course, that presumes that the team will not suffer any additional losses like retirements or waiving players who are not working out.  So now let’s look at the players who the team may bring back for 2022.