5 Rams free agents who could be forced into retirement

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams
Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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A royal defensive back

The LA Rams needed veteran support, and CB Duke Shelley needed a team in 2023. As a result, Shelley signed with the teams for a NFL veteran minimum salary. He arrived to a team that needed veteran leadership in the secondary, a player who has been through a number of seasons, and could carry himself in such a way that younger teammates could follow his example. But two things happened to derail that plan.

The first was the simple fact that Shelley's late arrival (signed Sept. 1, 2023) made it awfully difficult to lead his teammates when he was trying to learn the playbook himself, trying to make introductions to his coaches and teammates, and trying to earn playing time. The second event was an injury to his hamstring that benched Shelley throughout the month of December 2023, just when the team got red hot. That ruined his chances to get back into the secondary rotation.

Shelley is a 5-foot-8, 183-pound veteran defensive back who has played on three separate NFL teams: The Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and now LA Rams. He tried out with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2023, but was cut before the Rams picked him up. With each new team, his role and impact continues to diminish. He plays well enough in pass coverage, allowing just 54.5 percent of passes thrown his way to find their target. But he only saw the field for 79 defensive snaps. A team could take a flyer on him this year. But if the Rams do not bring him back as a depth player, he could be waiting some time for the phone to ring.

Second verse, same as the first

Interior linebacker Troy Reeder has played four seasons for the LA Rams. But he played the 2022 NFL season for the Los Angeles Chargers. So it was a mild surprise when the team signed Reeder to the practice squad at the end of August 2023. While he knows the Rams coaches, players, and most of their plays, there was not enough reason to keep him on the team after winning Super Bowl LVI. But for some reason, there was enough reason to re-sign him to the team in 2023.

One of the problems with Reeder is his inability to secure the ball carrier when tackling them. He missed 14.2 percent of his tackles in 2022, which was incredibly frustrating to fans. He found his way for the Chargers, and did not miss a single tackle for them. But back on the Rams defense in 2023, he again failed to wrap up, missing an alarming 11.5 percent of his tackles once more.

Reeder continues to be a special team specialist, getting the majority of his work via special team snaps. But is that enough to land him another contract? I'm not so sure, particularly with his second attempt to perform well for this team and not getting the job done. It could be a long time before he gets another chance to show what he can do. Perhaps too long.