7 dream extensions that will happen with latest Rams salary cap figures

Los Angeles Rams
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IV: This versatile edge rusher was a victim of scheme, not effort

The performance of OLB Michael Hoecht in 2023 takes the form of two assessments. There are those who focus far too often on the rare occasion when he was forced into coverage of a wide receiver in open space. The other path to judge his contribution lies in stepping back from the one or two plays that burned the unpleasant image in the minds of frustrated fans, and considering his entire 2023 season performance.

Hoecht was another 'rookie,' perfomer on this team in 2024. While he did get his feet wet at the position to finish off the second have of 2022, he did not enjoy a training camp at outside linebacker until 2023. Despite some of his verbal critics, the guy played rather well.

The Rams defense is an odd-man front, a.k.a. the 3-4 base defense. But the Rams send four players to rush the quarterback, and the outside linebacker who is assigned coverage for that play must cover the flat on those pass plays. And therein lies the rub. When rookie OLB Byron Young rushed the QB, Hoecht was in coverage, and visa versa. So the expectation for the Rams pass rush to flourish if the team adds a new pass rusher is not as simple as it sounds.

Whoever the team adds to rush the passer will almost certainly force the other OLB to cover. In the most likely scenario, that would mean Byron Young goes into coverage. So does the team get a full benefit? For practical purposes, the team's true benefit is whatever the new player delivers less what Young would do if he rushed the QB.

Carolina Panthers OLB Brian Burns is demanding $30 million per year and had just 8.0 QB sacks in 2023. Hoecht will likely sign to play in 2024 for 1/10th of that amount, and he put up 6.0 QB sacks in 2023. The Rams should take the better value and extend Hoecht.

Likely extension terms: One-year $3.5 million