When the LA Rams began to lose some games in 2022, the Rams’ roster was clearly not built for such misfortune. This was a team that was constructed to win in the regular season but also to win in the postseason. Of course, when the team falls to a 3-9 record, guaranteeing the first losing season for head coach Sean McVay, it’s as good of a time as any to step back and survey the entire Rams roster.
The LA Rams have lost quite a few games in a myriad of ways this season. Some of the losses can be attributable to injuries. Some can be attributable to poor performances by players. But the most concerning of all is the fact that some losses are attributable to bad schemes, overestimating the capability of players to be placed into next to impossible odds throughout many games.
Passing into the stingiest NFL pass defenses? Only targetting a wide receiver who is creating separation a handful of times? The Rams, at one time considered to be very innovative and adaptive on both sides of the football, have become quite rutted and stubborn of late. Is it the coaches, the players, or the sudden influx of winning a Super Bowl that has changed this team?
The Rams can reload next year, at a price
In all fairness, the fragility of the NFL cannot be brushed aside. It could be all, some, or none of the factors listed above. Winning in the NFL is tough. As soon as a team comes up with a successful strategy, 31 NFL teams begin searching for the countermoves to thwart that success. And it gets worse in the offseason when the best coaches from the best NFL teams are promoted to new roles with new teams. That forces those successful teams to reforge schemes and designs, which may not be as effective as the original.
What looks good on the whiteboard and on paper does not always look as impressive on the football field. Right now the LA Rams are not only struggling, but the areas of greatest strength have fallen to weaknesses. The Rams have an entirely new set of positional coaches, almost annually, and new coaches bring new techniques with new strategies. Is it fair to believe that the Rams players who have flourished before can be even better with each new season? So the LA Rams want to get better, but can they count on doing so with 10 NFL Draft picks and very limited salary cap space?
Is this the right time to think the unthinkable? The LA Rams are staring at a 2023 projected salary cap deficit of over (-$3 million) per Spotrac.com (as of December 7, 2022). That is not a good starting point for a team that is battered, beaten, and struggling to improve. So what options do the Rams have? Well, the team cut players outright this year to bestow opportunities to sign on elsewhere and to save some salary cap space. Could the Rams consider trading some players who are giving the team diminishing returns? Perhaps. Here are three players who could be dealt in this offseason.