LA Rams stockpile another OL to reserve/future contract

Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

Even as the LA Rams coaches and players focus upon Super Bowl LVI, the team’s front office is burdened with another very important task. That is, the team is assembling its roster for the 2022 NFL season. And so far, the focus has been on adding offensive linemen. The first move indicating that direction occurred when the LA Rams signed offensive center Drake Jackson to a reserve/future contract.

Now the team is back at it again. This time, the team has added offensive tackle Adrian Ealy to the list, signing him to a reserve/future contract. Does that name sound familiar? It should. But before we go there, let’s talk about the reserve/future contract.

NFL teams use reserve/future contracts in the off-season in much the same way as teams use their practice squads through the course of an NFL season. These players have demonstrated enough promise to warrant more time with the coaching in the effort to develop into future NFL starters.

Teams often sign players from the practice squad to reserve/future contracts after the season has ended.  But thanks to the LA Rams competing in Super Bowl LVI, the season for the LA Rams has been extended by five additional weeks. That much time passing has a significant impact on getting players locked in, which is why the Rams are acting now.

What about Ealy?

The LA Rams had signed Ealy to the roster before when the roster was decimated by COVID-19. At that time, the Rams added nine players, and now both OC Drake Jackson and Adrian Ealy have been signed for 2022.

Ealy was a player we had identified as a potential undrafted free agent rookie signing after the 2021 NFL Draft. He stands 6-foot-6 and weighs a solid 321 pounds, but his draft profile described a coachable but raw prospect. Ealy got excellent grades in pass blocking, but his weakness was run blocking. Ealy originally signed out of Oklahoma University with the Baltimore Ravens, but a positive PED test suspended him for six weeks, prompting the Ravens to part ways with the young man.

Ealy was noteworthy from his Senior Bowl performance, a landmark that the LA Rams scouts often weigh as it is a fairer comparison of how a player performs against his peers of equal talent level.

This one may be ‘just another signing’ for the Rams, but keep him on your radar. The fact that the LA Rams are adding 2021 rookie offensive linemen to their 2022 roster now tells you that they understand the need for competent depth next year. It is also an insurance policy to ensure that the LA Rams are not ‘shut out’ if they are unable to re-sign offensive linemen, and are unable to add offensive linemen to the ranks via the 2022 NFL Draft.

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