LA Rams roster moves creates roster slot opening before Week 1

Los Angeles Rams Shaun Jolly,
Los Angeles Rams Shaun Jolly, / David Eulitt/GettyImages

Oh, the tangled webs we weave. The LA Rams have been a bit curious about the way that the team has assembled the Rams roster this season. As the team finalized the initial 53-man roster, the kicker was signed to the practice squad. And to make events even more puzzling, the Rams signed a veteran free-agent defensive back to fill the final roster slot.

Well, wait and the answers will come to you, apparently. It seems that the LA Rams signed veteran defensive back Duke Shelly as a preemptive bolster to the Rams secondary in anticipation of the Rams roster losing DB Shaun Jolly.

Shaun Jolly

The LA Rams signed 5-foot-9 180-pound defensive back Shaun Jolly off the Cleveland Browns practice squad in September 2022 after the Rams began to be stretched thin in secondary depth. While he never saw action last season, he remained on the Rams roster to fill the team's depth needs at defensive back.

He returned this year in hopes of securing a spot on the Rams roster. He was one of the limited number of players in the Rams secondary who had experience with the team in 2022, and appeared to be earmarked for a spot on the Rams 53-man roster.

Unfortunately, he was injured, and was waived as part of an injury settlement.

One roster slot opened.

Duke Shelley

The LA Rams quickly signed Jolly's replacement in defensive back Duke Shelley. Shelly had just been waived by the Las Vegas Raiders after playing three seasons for the Chicago Bears and one season for the Minnesota Vikings. Shelley stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 176 pounds, but has vastly more NFL experience than his predecessor.

Over the course of his NFL career, Shelley was targeted 109 times, allowing only 69 completions, a completion rate of only 63.3 percent. That's not bad for an inexpensive veteran DB.

One roster slot filled

Batch roster moves before Week 1

While the LA Rams activated two practice squad members in time for Week 1 in kicker Brett Maher and quarterback Brett Rypien, those move do not have a permanent impact on the Rams roster. The transactions that do impact the Rams roster is the designation of WR Cooper Kupp and TE Hunter Long to IR. The Rams also made a subsequent move by signing linebacker Troy Reeder to the 53 man active Rams roster off their practice squad.

The designation of both Kupp and Long to Injured Reserve was certainly expected. But NFL teams are limited to restoring eight players to the active roster from IR per season. The Rams have already queued potentially three players to return from IR, and they have not played a game yet. That places the Rams' IR usage far ahead of a manageable pace.

The rapid promotion of LB Troy Reeder is a curious roster move as well.

One roster slot remains open.

How competitive do the LA Rams want to be this year? While the team has plenty of talent, there is an unusual pattern emerging this season with unnecessary risks by going light at critical positions.

Carrying a placekicker on the practice squad is a risky strategy. So too is carrying just two quarterbacks on the active roster, when one is an injured rookie quarterback who is inactive for the first NFL game.

It feels like the LA Rams are approaching Week 1 with some tricks up their sleeves, But when I look at the LA Rams' recent decisions regarding their roster, I'm a bit bewildered. The LA Rams need roster help. But there is very little that LB Troy Reeder brings to the Rams roster that other players are not already capable of supplying.

The Rams are very thin at outside linebacker, at quarterback, and even at kicker with their gameday kicker being carried on the practice squad. I hope that the Rams know what they are doing, because I certainly do no. Do you? Let us know in the comments section of our FB page.