LA Rams DE Jonah Williams won't be back, and here's why that is bad news

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers, Jonah Williams, Sam Darnold
Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers, Jonah Williams, Sam Darnold / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

If only the LA Rams had afforded him just a little bit more time.

Perhaps I am unique in my habit of checking up on former LA Rams players. Oftentimes, I find that the Rams inability to extend those players came with unexpected benefits. Veteran outside linebacker Von Miller, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2022, certainly falls into that category. In the past two seasons with the Bills, he has put up 8.0 quarterback sacks and 24 tackles. That's not very good.

On the other hand, some players seem to buck that trend and flourish on new teams. Defensive end Morgan Fox left the Rams after the 2020 NFL season. While he did not play well for the Carolina Panthers in 2021, he has certainly played well for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022 and 2023.

So too did the Rams part ways with young outside linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo after the 2021 NFL season. Since then, he has put up respectable numbers for the Houston Texans in 2022, and again for the Cleveland Browns in 2023.

A third young outside linebacker, Samson Ebukam, left the LA Rams via free agency after the 2020 NFL season. He also put up respectable numbers for the San Francisco 49ers in 2021 and 2022. But he really took off in 2023, putting up 57 tackles and 9.5 quarterback sacks for the Indianapolis Colts.

On each occasion, I have to ask myself: Did the Rams grow too impatient too quickly?

Now the Rams have another young player who has developed slowly but steadily at defensive end. It was not until Morgan Fox's fourth NFL season that his numbers began to spike. It just so happens that 2024 will be Jonah Williams fourth NFL season. Will he spike his production in 2024 as well?

The unfortunate set of circumstances is that his fourth season will benefit the Minnesota Vikings, and not the LA Rams.

Jonah Williams is a 3-4 defensive end. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 275 pounds. Because he has been a depth player on the Rams' defense, he can fill a rotational role on the defensive line.

While he may be viewed by some (if not many) fans as an expendable player, I had hopes that he would step up in 2024 to compensate for some of the lost production. He may not improve in 2024, but the pattern so far with young defenders is that Year 4 is the time when they seem to step up in a big way.

Surprisingly, the Rams defense is tasked with finding players who can contribute in 2024. Does the Rams strategy of letting an inexpensive young defensive end go to a competitor jive with that goal?

Would having him back have been worth an investment of $1.5 million for one more season? I think so, but now that he has signed with the Minnesota VIkings, I hope that I am wrong.