LA Rams roster purge continues well beyond Leonard Floyd
Okay, so the LA Rams are taking their strategy for the Rams roster 'refurbish' to the very brink of a complete rebuild now. While the LA Rams seemed to focus upon freeing up salary cap space for the 2023 and 2024 NFL seasons with the release of veterans Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd, the team did not stop there. In fact, in many ways, it appears that the Rams front office was just getting warmed up.
The team made it a point to offer Reserve/Future contracts to many of the players who were available on the team's 2022 practice squad. But most of those players have been released as well, as the team also waived tight end Roger Carter, defensive back T.J. Carter, wide receiver J.J. Koski, tight end Jared Pinkney, wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson, wide receiver Jerreth Sterns, and defensive end Brayden Thomas.
The news is a bit surprising, as Reserve/Future contracts have historically held minimal importance to an NFL team's holistic roster perspective. But it does indicate one thing: The LA Rams mean business in 2023. So why would the Rams take so many cuts to the bottom of the projected 2023 90-man roster before free agency hits? In short, the new positional coaches are weighing in, and these players simply no longer fit the specifications for their roles on the 2023 Rams roster.
If you need a positive spin on the news, let's look at this in a new framework. It's far better to part ways this early, giving players a chance to sign on with another NFL team, and perhaps earn a roster spot elsewhere, than compete for a spot on the LA Rams roster and have no chance of earning playing time, only to be released along with hundreds of other players.
So who remains signed to the Rams Reserve/Future contracts?
Remaining 4 Rams Reserve Future contracts
DE T.J. Carter is a versatile 6-foot-4 behemoth who weighs 289 pounds and was claimed and added to the LA Rams roster in mid-August 2022. He is a defensive end with some serious upside, a young prospect who beat the odds with the late arrival to the Rams roster and carved out a role for himself to compete for playing time in 2023.
DB Richard LeCounte III is a former Georgia Bulldog defensive back who has the versatility to compete for a role as either a cornerback or a safety. Standing 5-foot-10 and weighing 196 pounds, he is a player who should be considered a hybrid player. He is not quite big enough to lay a thump in run support from the safety position, and not quite fleet-footed enough to hang with a speedy receiver on the outside.
OLB Zach VanValkenburg is a 6-foot-4 DE/OLB prospect who signed after the 2022 NFL Draft with the Las Vegas Raiders. While he appeared to be productive, it was not enough to land him a more secure role with the Raiders. But it was good enough to land him with the LA Rams. He is a flurry of fury, a cyclone of defensive disruption that has caused havoc on more than a couple of offensive plays. He is worth keeping on your radar.
OL Max Pircher is a 6-foot-7 300-pound offensive lineman who truly fits the old adage - 'saving the best for last.' Wearing jersey number 66, it's pretty easy to pick him out during the Rams offensive play, as he is often the guy blocking 5-10 yards downfield on a running play, and riding his defender in a wide arc around the quarterback on a passing play.
Is he too raw? That is a mistake that many LA Rams fans make. Pircher has been coached by the LA Rams for two seasons, and it's clear that the game is slowing down for him and the plays and the offensive strategy is beginning to make sense.
While the LA Rams offensive line may be an area of concern for fans, there really is a significant underestimation of the team's young players who are expected to step up this season. From the group of Logan Bruss, Alaric Jackson, Tremayne Anchrum Jr., and Max Pircher, I believe that the Rams can rightfully expect two to be competent NFL starters in 2023.
I personally believe that IPP OL Max Pircher is ready to be an NFL starter even if that means starting as their left tackle. But whether or not the LA Rams feel that way will dictate their strategy throughout the 2022 NFL Free Agency Market and the 2023 NFL Draft. Stay tuned . . .