As feared, Rams face opening the 2024 season without 2 key players

Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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TE tight rope

Another enigma to the Rams free agency signings in 2024 was the rather lucrative contract that the team agreed to with former Seattle Seahawks backup tight end Colby Parkinson. While standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 251 pounds is enough size to make sense for an offense that struggled in the red zone at times in 2023, there had to be more to the 3-year $22.5 million contract than a niche red zone target.

The only way for this contract to make sense is that the Rams view tight end Colby Parkinson as an instant placeholder for their starting tight end position. At the time, we only knew that the return of Tyler Higbee from his ACL injury suffered during the NFL Playoffs was entirely up in the air. Now we have a bit more clarity as to Tyler Higbee's status, and it's not exactly great news:

With Higbee projected to start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, the team had few alternatives to signing a potential starter to the roster this offseason. The team has never found reason to promote TE Brycen Hopkins to the starting role in the past. And their other tight end, Hunter Long, is at risk of starting the 2024 NFL season on IR as well.

That only leaves second-year tight end Davis Allen to compete in 2024. With the addition of Colby Parkinson, the offense retains the option of running 12-personnel package plays as well.

How long with Higbee be out? If he is unable to suit up to start the 2024 NFL season, we know that by definition, he must be on the IR/PUP roster for a minimum of four games. There is also the lag of getting Higbee up to speed on the "Designated to return" list. So the Rams could be looking at two months or more without Tyler Higbee.

With that information in hand, the addition of TE Colby Parkinson to the roster makes far more sense.