5: Rams will let all 4 veteran defensive backs walk
There are plenty of reasons for the Rams to try extending some, if not all of their defensive backs. After all, the group of CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Duke Shelley, S Jordan Fuller, and S John Johnson III played most of the defensive snaps for the Rams in 2023 (with the exception of Shelley), so it makes sense for the Rams to attempt to extend them.
But that could be a problem. You see, the LA Rams spent just over $4 million on all four players in 2023, and got good value at that price. The Rams are likely able to get no more than one or two players back at that same price point, which shifts a great deal of rick back to the Rams for the 2024 NFL season.
The Rams currently have six defensive backs under contract for the 2024 NFL season, plus two more on Reserve/future contracts. If the Rams add defensive backs in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Rams could create a pretty solid secondary at minimal cost:
- LCB - Cobie Durant | Cameron McCutcheon
- Slot - Tre Tomlinson | Rookie CB
- RCB - Rookie CB | Deriod Kendrick
- S - Quentin Lake | Jason Taylor II
- S - Russ Yeast | Tanner Ingle
On paper, the Rams may be able to save a substantial amount of salary cap dollars in 2024 by investing heavily in young defensive backs. Will the Rams suffer in the quality of play if they adopt this strategy? Well, one thing is certain. The Rams defense will be led by a new defensive coordinator, and many of the current candidates have strong backgrounds in coaching secondaries.
The Rams new DC, whoever he may be, may insist upon drafting new defensive backs who align with his defensive philosophy and scheme. While there are plenty of solid reasons to justify re-signing some if not all of the Rams veteran DBs, I think the Rams opt to invest salary dollars elsewhere, for now.