Hey, LA Rams: Yes, all of the drama was all worth it
The LA Rams organization has played the hand dealt to them this season with surprising expertise. Despite twists and turns, GM Les Snead and company were at the top of their game, transacting as best as they could, and were consistent throughout the 2021 NFL season with their approach. The Rams used future draft picks for present-day players. In the end, the Rams assembled a host of truly gifted and talented NFL players, but behind them, the team had a pretty significant crop of young players who have no experience in the spotlight.
The Rams did not approach this roster build with a view to 2022. The team’s major additions were added with the knowledge that they were a part-year rental. Expensive rental? Yes. But the Rams traded for Matthew Stafford who had two years remaining on his contract. The team traded for RB Sony Michel, knowing that Michel was in the last year of his contract.
At the trade deadline, the LA Rams traded for veteran OLB Von Miller, knowing that Miller was on the last year of his contract. And last, but not least, the Rams signed WR Odell Beckham Jr., but did so only through the end of the 2021 NFL Season. The Rams added four significant veteran players, either at a cost of draft picks, or through free agency, but not one to a long-term contract.
What else would you call the Rams ‘urgency’ to win in 2021?
Some are fatigued hearing about the Rams All-In approach. But there are other ways to phrase the Rams strategy of converting those future draft picks in the 2022 and 2023 NFL Drafts en masse for players who will play in the 2021 NFL season, and only guaranteed to play in the 2021 season, with any more accuracy.
Whatever the outcome to Super Bowl LVI, one thing is crystal clear: It’s back to the drawing board for the roster. Whether the team reworks contracts to extend potential free agents, works their magic on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft, or negotiates to add new talent to the roster via the NFL Trade route, it will be back to business as usual for the LA Rams once more.
No money. No picks. No chance, right? Now, where do the Rams start? It’s back to business as usual it seems.
Home sweet home
Well, for starters, the Rams’ home-field advantage is finally transforming into a true home-field advantage. Was the return to Los Angeles wise? After what we’ve seen, it will take more time to win back the fans. Once more, the San Francisco 49ers fans swelled the stands, which is perhaps a first in an NFC Championship Game. But the Rams finally sent them packing home with a sour taste in their mouths.
They may or may not return in those numbers again. But with their winning streak broken, now the 49ers are forced to scratch their heads and wonder what it will take to achieve a different outcome.
The LA Rams organization cannot be faulted for not attracting NFL Star talent. The front office did more than its share of building a roster. The team plugged holes that appeared in the roster throughout the entire 2021 NFL season. The team added talent through injuries, at the trade deadline, to replenish the ranks as the roster was decimated with a COVID-19 breakout, and finally once more due to more injuries.
For all of the drama, questions, concerns, doubts, and even disappointments that the LA Rams and the fans have had to face so far this year, I don’t need an outcome of Super Bowl LVI to know that it has all been worth it. The LA Rams are representing the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl. This is their second such appearance in the last five years.
For all of the risks, all of the criticism, and all of the ridicule, the LA Rams have proven that they are on the right track. It was all worth it.