LA Rams never seem to re-sign former players. Why not?

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Free Agency Les Snead
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Timing is everything

The LA Rams have a plan of action in place that is constantly being updated. Not the least bit surprising, part of that plan is to continue to move forward. And so, the Rams have two tracks in place to add players to the roster. Either the player is an elite potential game-changer? Or the player is an inexpensive but value-added role player.

To acquire the first type of roster addition, the LA Rams will trade for the player. That ensures that the team: A – Gets the player at a known compensation package; B – Does not disrupt the team’s algorithms for being awarded compensatory picks in the future, and; C – Allows the analysts in the Nerd’s Nest to properly evaluate all sides of the trade equation to either endorse or discourage the deal.

Rams free agency: Players can never go back

For the second type of player, the LA Rams typically find worthwhile additions by scanning the NFL Waiver Wire. The waiver wire typically yields the type of player whose forte is a specific niche needed on the LA Rams roster at the time, or as a depth player who is viewed as someone promising enough to add to either the roster (by submitting a claim) or to the practice squad (waiting for the player to clear waivers, then offering a practice squad contract). In either scenario,  the expectation for immediate results gives way to improved roster depth.

In the case of former LA Rams players, the timing is often . . . off. Either their salary expectations or role with a future team exceeds that which the LA Rams can offer them. As is often the case, familiarity breeds contempt. Former players’ expectations upon returning to the team may envision picking up right where they left off.

In many cases, that role no longer exists. While that is not a problem for a new player who is unfamiliar with the team, former players arrive with pre-conceived notions about what to expect. That can mean a shorter learning curve. Or it could mean more rigidity, an unintended resistance to taking on the new challenge or too frequently falling into old habits.