LA Rams lose reserve OLB Justin Lawler to Tennessee Titans

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the LA Rams lost a reserve outside linebacker, Justin Lawler, to the Tennessee Titans in a somewhat surprising move. Surprising in that with the LA Rams projected attrition at edge rushers for the 2022 NFL season, many projections indicate at least one or two roster spots will open up on the active roster for the position in 2022. One surely seemed to be earmarked for Lawler in 2022.

Based on the fact that the LA Rams leaned so heavily upon Lawler in the early games of the 2021 NFL season, it seemed that he had the inside track to sign onto the LA Rams 53-man roster next year. He was activated for three games last year, spending time in a rotational role on defense as well as covering on special teams.

While the LA Rams were not looking, the Tennessee Titans swooped in and signed him to their roster.

And just like that, the LA Rams are down one outside linebacker from their 2021 roster, and project to lose as many as two more to free agency.  That makes this newsworthy folks.

More work for Rams Free Agency

Lawler is a strong and prototypical NFL outside linebacker, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 265 pounds. He was drafted by the LA Rams with the 244th overall pick, which was late in round seven of the 2018 NFL Draft. While he was never more than a rotational player in his rookie season and practice squad player from 2019 through 2021, he did show signs this past year of things beginning to slow down and click for him.

While the loss of Justin Lawler is by no means significant, it is a bit of a nuisance. The team’s coaching staff had invested a significant amount of time in the young man’s development, and it seemed as though he was just about to turn the corner.

The LA Rams rely upon the development of players like Lawler to grow into an inexpensive rotational option on defense. That allows the team to earmark a majority of their salary cap funds to attract and retain some of the best talents in the NFL.

Still, the experience with Justin Lawler does expose the one vulnerability to the team’s roster-building methods. In the end, the Rams can train them, but they cannot always retain them.

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