Item I: Signal caller
The LA Rams were able to win Super Bowl LVI with the help of veteran safety Eric Weddle coming out of retirement to play in the secondary and ultimately become the defensive signal-caller of the defense. After his decision to return to retirement, the door to that option is shut tight and locked from the other side. Without Weddle, the LA Rams will need to compensate for losing one of the critical components of their Super Bowl-winning roster.
Inside linebacker Troy Reeder, inside linebacker Ernest Jones, and defensive back Jordan Fuller were assigned the responsibility to call the defense during the season. Unfortunately, Reeder is a free agent now and the Rams made no indication of making a Qualifying Tender Offer to retain him for the 2022 season yet. The main signal-caller, second-year DB Jordan Fuller, made two trips to the injured reserve roster in his first two seasons.
Of course, the Rams could bring Reeder back at a cheaper rate. And Fuller could resume his defensive captain role when he recovers, this could be an opportunity to rethink the right player for the assignment. Second-year inside linebacker Ernest Jones flashed great instincts in 2021. But, much like Fuller, he too found himself on injured reserve in 2021.
Even if both Fuller and Jones are on the LA Rams roster and healthy for the entire 2022 season, a veteran player with signal-calling experience could help mentor both, and aid in their development to lead the defense for the 2022 season. Veterans are critical to player development because they understand what it takes to handle a role in the NFL.
Whether the front office brings in a veteran signal-caller to start or to be an insurance policy, the LA Rams should weigh the option to sign a defensive veteran seriously. That veteran can be a free agent or a player the team is able to acquire via trade, but the LA Rams need to get someone who can play the role and be ready to start in the 2022 NFL season.
I heard that ILB Bobby Wagner was released by the Seattle Seahawks. I wonder? Hmm…