Ho-hum free agency signing by Rams is 1 more strategically sound move

Los Angeles Rams, Les Snead
Los Angeles Rams, Les Snead / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

When it comes to the LA Rams front office, familiarity rules. At least, that seems to be the case so far as the 2024 NFL Free Agency market wanes and the 2024 NFL Draft waxes in terms of the team's focus. The teams has been notoriously active so far, signing six new free agent veterans to the roster. But even as the new players have gotten the spotlight and headlines, the team has also managed to bring back nine players from the 2023 NFL season.

The latest extension is one for ILB Troy Reeder. Is it a significant extension for the team? Perhaps not. But there are reason why this is a strategically sound move.

Ultimately, the LA Rams are not just focusing on the 2024 NFL season, but looking at OTAs, training camp, and the preseason games as well.,

While fans applauded the extensions of WR Demarcus Robinson, LT Alaric Jackson, and RG Kevin Dotson, the bravos were noticeably absent as the team extended RB Ronnie Rivers, OLB Michael Hoecht, DT Larrell Murchison, WR Tyler Johson, ILB Christian Rozeboom, and now ILB Troy Reeder.

But these extensions are strategically significant, and here's why:

III: Relieves pressure in 2024 NFL Draft

As fans, we can create our mock drafts and even fixate on a specific player in the upcoming draft, knowing that we can be totally immune if we guess wrong or if that player is selected before the Rams step up to the podium. For Rams GM Les Snead, he cannot afford to miss to that extent. If a prospect does not pan out, or is simply not there on the draft board as the team makes the selection, there is no 'reset' button to force the draft to start over until the right prospect falls to the Rams.

While the Rams will likely need to address the defense extensively in the 2024 NFL Draft, extending veterans offers the team vital insulation from the need to reach during the draft to address a specific position. Now, the team can focus on the best players and best fits, rather than focus on a limited subset of position groups.

II: Addresses roster depth needs

The Rams entered the 2024 NFL offseason with a number of holes in the roster. While I won't go so far to say that all holes have been adequately addressed, the team has done an admirable job of compensating for the loss of 2023 veteran players. So far, the team has multiplied two inside linebackers to four, four wide receivers to six, nine offensive linemen to 11, and has even bolstered the front seven from nine to 11 players.

Roster depth is vital at this portion of the upcoming NFL season. While fans may be disgruntled over the return of an underperforming player, Les Snead knows that that player brings to the team, as well as solid feedback from positional coaches. The litmus test for extending a veteran is not simply 'is he the best in the NFL?'

I: Ensures stiff competition for playing time

What I love most about this extension, and all under-the-radar extensions, is that with each returning veteran, the competition level for that position rises a little bit. If you recall, the Rams entered OTAs and training camp in 2023 with an obvious deficit of veteran leadership. In fact, the abundance of young players last season caused problems for the coaches who were slowed considerably with practice tempo and cadence because rookies were slowed due to unfamiliarity.

It was that tardiness that compelled the team to continue signing veterans well into July 2023.

Even if you do not appreciate the presence of veterans like ILB Troy Reeder as a potential 53-man rostered player, don't be too quick to discount his presence on the roster this time of year. Training camp competition needs competitors. Our perception of who is a solid special team contributor, defender, practice warrior, and locker room positive influence is extremely limited.

Let's let competition decide who does, and does not, make the 53-man roster. The 90-man training camp roster is simply the group that will compete for playing time.

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