Budget cuts? Roster limits? The LA Rams are no strangers to parting ways with former players after their rookie contracts are up. But at what price? We know that the cleared the roster after the 2022 NFL season, basically creating an NFL version of a fire sale as the Rams placed veterans up for trade at a penny-saver price of 'make me an offer,' that left the Rams roster at fewer than 50 percent filled by the time the 2023 NFL Draft arrived.
Parting ways with veteran players has not been a sudden event. It's been a key component of the LA Rams roster building strategy for years, and the Rams front office has come to be nearly dependant upon a larger number of awarded compensatory picks that have armed the Rams to reload the roster with players in future drafts. But, at what cost?
Extend veteran vs. open slot for young player
That's the catch after all, isn't it? A conflict of loyalties, resulting in the Rams forced to make snap decisions over which players will improve over time, and which players plateau too early. While the Rams have had some success in predicting the future, it has not always worked out in the Rams favor.
Of course, there are far too many components to that equation to make it a simple binary answer of yes or no whenever the Rams front office must decide the ultimate fate of a veteran player. How well is that player performing? Is there a younger player on the roster who warrants more playing time? How easily can the Rams restock the depth at that position via the NFL draft? Finally, is there better value in the NFL free agency market?
Even players who had performed well for the Rams are not guaranteed to stay healthy or even to sustain their performance for years into the future. So the decision over who to extend and who to allow to walk away becomes far too complex to have simple answers. As a result, no front office can ever be expected to get it right each time.
To see why that is, let's examine three solid role players who signed with other teams. How are they performing on their new team? Was it worth it for the Rams to allow that veteran to don a new uniform?