It's make or break for LA Rams WR Tutu Atwell in his contract year

As LA Rams WR Tutu Atwell has improved, his chances of succeeding on this roster have decreased. How can that be, and can Atwell impress enough in 2024 to warrant a contract extension? Let's discuss
Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Tre Tomlinson, Tutu Atwell
Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Tre Tomlinson, Tutu Atwell / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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Is this Tutu Atwell's last chance?

I like wide receiver Tutu Atwell, and the added dimensions that his speed and determination can bring to the LA Rams offense, particularly now that the team has a dangerous running game that will force defensive backs to creep closer and closer to the box. And with a reinforced set of offensive linemen to secure the pocket, starting QB Matthew Stafford can put deep balls back on the menu.

All of this seems to create a perfect scenario for WR Tutu Atwell to flourish in 2024. But if it is that easy, why hasn't it happened before? These questions are not exclusive to me alone but permeate almost all Rams fans and analysts. Even as he continues to settle into a veteran's place on this offense, he continues to face descent on the team's depth chart as other players who are bigger and more physical leap him to larger roles:

But even as we pivot from causal analysis to 2024 projections, will a stronger offensive line and running game prove to be the difference-maker in terms of Atwell's fourth NFL season? And if he fails to break 500 receiving yards this year, are there any other NFL offenses that have the ability to elevate his game?

I believe so, yes. After all, 67 targets in any single NFL season is not much work at all. Puka Nacua was targeted 160 times in 2023. In 2021, veteran WR Cooper Kupp was targeted 191 times. Of course, it will never happen, but if targeted 191 times, Tutu Atwell could put up nearly 1400 receiving yards in a season. If targeted 160 times, he would break 1,100 receiving yards.

The Top Five receivers in 2023 all had at least 158 targets. While he would not challenge them in terms of receiving yards, it's obvious that Tutu Atwell needs targets to be productive. Those targets seem to be less likely with the extension of WR Demarcus Robinson. And now, the team has added a new contestant to limited number of targets in rookie WR Jordan Whittington.

Is this Tutu Atwell's last chance to earn significant playing time and perhaps even a contract extension? I fear the answer is yes. I like the guy. I even believe that if given the chance, he could be a 1,000-yard receiver for the Rams. But the chances of an expanded role in 2024 are even less than in 2023.

He will need to have one helluva training camp to have a shot. I can't see that happening.

As always, thank you for reading.