5 Rams we can safely call busts after the 2023 season

Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
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II: WR Van Jefferson

For the first two years of his NFL career, wide receiver Van Jefferson had all the indications of a future 1000+ yard receiver in the Rams offense. He seemed to possess the size, the route running, and the speed necessary to flourish in the Rams pass-friendly offense. When he put up 802 yard and six touchdowns in his second season with the team on 50 of 89 catches, I was hopeful enough to believe that he would burst the 1000 receiving yard plateau in his third season.

Jefferson is the son of Shawn Jefferson, the current wide receiver coach of the Carolina Panthers. It's same to assume from that legacy that Van Jefferson knows how to play the wide receiver position. The trick to earning playing time at the position is learning how to catch the football, a task that Jefferson struggled with in the offense. In nearly four seasons, he caught just 101 of 179 passes thrown his way for 1,499 yards and 10 touchdowns. But his catch rate actually declined each year of his professional career, to the point where passes thrown his way were merely a flip of the coin's probability.

A receiver who cannot catch the football is not going to generate much interest. Jefferson will test his value in the 2024 NFL Free Agency market, and his projected salary comes in at a modest $2.3 million per year. But even that modest number may be too high. With a 2024 NFL Draft loaded with receiver talent, teams may be far less willing to add a veteran who struggles.

Of course, training camp rosters swell to 90 players, and with 32 teams, one or two teams may offer a veteran-minimum contract to see if they can improve his performance in a new offense. Right now, the shining star over Van Jefferson's career is fading away. He will need to sign with some team and put up an incredible display this summer to keep hopes for a prolonged NFL career alive.