And then, there were none. It's difficult to try to add any higher level reasoning to the waves of LA Rams veteran players whose contracts have expired, and are signing elsewhere. Normally, the trend would indicate a lack of confidence in the Rams coaching staff, or simply suspicion in the team's future, and those wiley veterans would simply be getting while the getting is good.
But the explanation for LA Rams sudden migration of veterans to other NFL teams is a far simple one. Occam's razor dictates that we shouldn't over complicate the reasons behind the Rams roster depletion. It all simply comes down to the fact that the Rams finances had grown so overburdened with year after year of kicking the currency can down the road, that the 2024 payroll had swelled in excess of any NFL salary cap projections and the team hadn't more than several dozen players on a 2024 contract.
In short, yes the Rams can re-sign players. But the process to do so will once again unnecessarily burden the payroll beyond this season, and the team is clearly not interested in doing so. That means that the team is likely to load up on a ton of rookie talent this season. And a new punt returner/kick returner could be on the shopping list.
And there you have it.
SKOL. Rams FA KR/PR Brandon Powell is a VIking
News broke today that the fourth and final special teams specialist, KR/PR/WR Brandon Powell has agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings today. That follows a wave of former Rams players, and all of the team's other special teams specialists, in signing elsewhere.
Brandon Powell will reunite with former LA Rams Offensive Coordinator and current Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell. While Powell had only begun to see action in the Rams offense since O'Connell left, he played better than expected in the 2022 NFL season. He played 290 offensive snaps due to an injury depleted receiving corps, catching 24 of the 32 passes thrown his way for 156 yards.
Powell has likely been added to the Vikings roster for his ability to return punts and kickoffs. While he regressed somewhat in 2022, he returned 22 punts for 177 yards and 30 kickoffs for 605 yards. His longest punt return in 2022 was 30 yards, while his longest kick return was 34 yards. In 2021, Powell did return a punt 61 yards for a touchdown, his only special teams touchdown of his career.
Add another need to growing shopping list for the Rams roster. It appears more and more likely that the Rams will push for players during and after the 2023 NFL Draft, and simply make do 'as is,' until then.