Looks like LA Rams HC Sean McVay is in it for the long haul
By Bret Stuter
Rams 2023 pit stop
Patience is the name of the game for the LA Rams right now. Sure, we can debate the rhetoric, Is this a rebuild, a refurbish, or just revenge? We saw what was coming in 2023 almost immediately after the 2022 NFL season ended. Since that initial article, plenty of mainstream media have gotten on board, trying to fit what the LA Rams intend for 2023.
But the Rams are shedding veterans at a record pace. It began in the middle of the 2022 NFL season when the Rams front office released RB Darrell Hendson Jr., DB Terrell Burgess, TE Kendall Blanton, OLB Justin Hollins, and Terrell Lewis. This was after the Rams had already parted ways with OLB Chris Garrett. At the time, the Rams' roster moves were less about who was released, and more about the Rams changing their modus operandi.
Settle in folks, we could be here awhile
When LA Rams GM Les Snead talked around the LA Rams not 'rebuilding,' I found myself chuckling. No, the Rams are not parting ways with QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, or DL Aaron Donald. But unlike the reasons being the fact that they will be the veteran pillars to a new Rams roster, the Rams are far more practical than that. The fact is that moving any of those three players triggers an immediately 2023 salary cap hit that is virtually impossible to do.
But more importantly, the Rams organization simply does not have a foundation nor the assets to retool the entire roster. For example, the LA Rams simply do not have the firepower in the 2023 NFL Draft to get anywhere close to selecting a quarterback of the future for this team. But the LA Rams have their 2024 first-round pick, and per NFL Draft Buzz, the 2024 draft class has a number of very intriguing options at the quarterback position.
Right now, the LA Rams have seven picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. Due to a trade with the Denver Broncos over ILB Kenny Young, the Rams have exchanged their 2024 Round 7 pick for the Broncos' Round 6 pick. While the hope is that the LA Rams' success in 2023 will not afford them a Top-10 draft pick in 2024, that was certainly the plan in 2022, a season that resulted in the LA Rams' pick (owned by the Detroit Lions) ending up as the sixth-overall pick.
After the 2023 NFL Free Agency market runs its course, and with the resolution of any possible trade of DB Jalen Ramsey, the Rams 2024 NFL Draft can take on a completely different storyline. Whether official or not, my gut feeling is that the LA Rams have targeted the 2024 draft class as the checkpoint to draft a franchise QB.
With that in mind, I'm lowering expectations of the LA Rams' offseason and the 2023 NFL season. I will be happy to be pleasantly surprised. But in my mind, the Rams will use the 2023 NFL season to focus on foundational pieces that can be built upon in 2024. No, I'm not suggesting that the Rams will tank. I think of it more as a strategic standby, a season in which the focus is on improving the team, and less focus upon wins and losses along the way.