3 former Los Angeles Rams players we’re glad are gone, 2 we wish stayed

Taking a look at how things have changed in LA over the past few years.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

However they look in 2024, the LA Rams will be a great example of how quickly roster turnover makes an impact in the NFL. Even with Rams HC Sean McVay and QB Matt Stafford still running the show, the roster figures to look wildly different than the one that's only a few years removed from winning Super Bowl LVI. There will be an Aaron Donald-sized hole in the Rams' defensive front next season, and other core staples of the last half decade – or in Donald's case, way longer – will be noticeably absent when training camp starts in late July.

As for free agent departures this year, the Rams haven't dealt with as many exits as other teams. So far, only three guys from last year – guard Tremayne Anchrum, safety Jordan Fuller, and center Coleman Shelton have signed contracts with new teams (Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and Chicago Bears respectively). So for the sake of the exercise, we'll go back to 2022 and revisit three Rams players who we are glad have gone on to other teams, and the two players that we wish had stuck around to play for the Rams for a few more seasons.

3 former Los Angeles Rams players we’re glad are gone

1. Allen Robinson, WR

When Allen Robinson arrived in LA, he was coming off four good-to-great seasons with the Bears. His last season in Chicago was forgettable, but Robinson put up a combined 2,397 receiving yards in the two seasons before, and fit the need the Rams' had for a receiver with his skillsets.

But as most (if not all?) Rams fans remember things went pretty poorly. Robinson only appeared in 10 games for the Rams, and his 339 receiving yards were, at that point, the lowest of his career. He was traded to the Steelers in the 2023 offseason and proceeded to have even worse stats this past year. Now an unsigned free agent, the Rams' decision to move on from the trade early is aging better by the month.

2. Nick Scott, S

After a promising – albeit limited – two year start to his career, it wasn't exactly a surprise when the Rams didn't work too hard to re-sign the safety when he was a free agent after the 2022 season: according to Pro Football Focus' Scott's overall defensive grade got worse every year except for that '22 season. He's had some good moments, but Scott's first year in 2023 was especially rough – he had a passer rating above 120, the highest missed-tackle rate of his career, and teams averaged 15.3 yards per reception on completions where he was targeted. After getting released by the Bengals this week, he's now looking for his next team after only one year of the three-year deal he signed.

3. Duke Shelley, CB

Like Robinson, Shelley's time in LA wasn't nearly as productive as it was in Chicago. He appeared in 11 games for the Rams this past season, mostly playing on specials teams. As a defensive back, he played 76 snaps – the lowest since his rookie year, when he played eight – and allowed six completions on 11 targets for 59 yards. And while maybe there's a world where the Rams re-sign Shelley, it doesn't feel too likely.

2 former Rams players we wish stayed

1. Aaron Donald, DL

The easiest of all easy answers. Donald announced his retirement in mid-March, which officially closed the book on a 10-year career that featured a Super Bowl title, four Defensive Player of the Year awards, eight First Team All-Pro nods, and 10 Pro Bowls. He's arguably the greatest defensive player of all time, and his departure is easily the Rams' biggest problem of the offseason. He certainly deserved the right to leave on his own terms, but it goes without saying how sorely missed Donald will be next season and beyond.

2. Johnny Hekker, P

This is kind of a joke, but also kind of not. As the Rams' punter for 10 straight years, Hekker's career is impressive in its own right: he made six straight All Pro teams between 2013 and 2018, four of which were First Team. He also led the league in punting yards for back-to-back seasons (2015-2016). After his numbers started to decline a bit, Hekker signed with the Carolina Panthers and has had a bit of a career resurgance – compared to his final season with the Rams, Hekker's yards, yards per punt, and number of punts inside the 20 have all risen. Current Rams' punter Ethan Edwards had a good season himself – PFF graded him significantly higher than Hekker in 2023 – but it's easy to be nostalgic about those great Hekker seasons.