LA Rams display early discipline, but will it pay off?
The LA Rams are typically not big spenders in the annual NFL Free Agency market. Oh sure, there are those seasons in which the team will be named as re-signing a number of veterans to new contracts. And every once in a while, the Rams front office will sign a new veteran to the roster to fill a critical need or improve very shallow depth at a key positional group. Overall, it's safe to say that the LA Rams are not known for splashy free agency signings
But this year is a bit much. At one point, the LA Rams projected well over 50 players on the 2023 NFL season roster. No2, that number is down to 44. While other teams are constructing their new rosters, the LA Rams appear to be stuck in deconstructing theirs. The process is thorough, from releasing veteran starters at the top of the roster, to releasing 2022 carryovers who were not even assured of a roster spot. Now, they are gone, and will not even have a chance to compete.
But this was eventually going to happen, perhaps as early as the 2023 NFL offseason. The Rams 2022 NFL season was simply really bad, which makes this all seem like a cause and effect. But I think this offseason was always in the cards.
Show me the way . . .
Retail workers how crazy their work hours get during the Christmas Holidays (or used to, anyways). Tax accountants and preparers know how crazy work can be during tax season. Well, for the past six seasons, the LA Rams have been operating at 'surge' capacity. It was crazy time for years, including long hours at the office, and no relaxation when not at the office.
I've done 'surge,' over the course of my career. Many times, in fact. But I can honestly say that I've never run full-tilt for so long as the LA Rams organization has over the past six seasons. There has to be a better way, and the LA Rams are looking for that optimal path right now. The problem is, that it's going to be trial-and-error along the way until this team finds that path.
So far, part of the LA Rams optimization is austerity, doing more with less. That already fits this team's DNA, and means that the team will very likely be making only a minimal effort. In 2023, the Rams free agency strategy appears to be coming into focus as valuing compensatory picks over productive players. There is nothing new to that strategy.
But the Rams learned that the front office cannot fix this team. That has to come from the coaching staff and the players who end up on roster. That means less money spent on free agents, and more time spent developing players. I don't know, and I'm not convinced that the LA Rams do either. But for the LA Rams, their Christmas Season is over, and now they are trying to get back to normal operations.
As fans, we'll simply need to be patient while the team figures out what that is. In all honesty, it could take a while. The 2023 NFL season may or may not lead to the playoffs. But given enough time, it will.