Solid reasons why Rams are painted into corner over ILB Ernest Jones extension

The Rams are painted into the corner over extending Ernest Jones. But why have they deliberately chosen to put themselves into this position?
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams ILB Ernest Jones
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams ILB Ernest Jones / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages
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Les Snead lays it on the line over Rams plans for Ernest Jones

The LA Rams are not in a similar position. Unlike the 49ers, or any team blessed with a talented by very young quarterback, the team is paying full freight at the quarterback position. That means that this team must find saving elsewhere, which prompted the great purge of 2023. Last season, the team shed multiple highly compensated veterans to restructure the team's financial commitments to players and position groups.

In 2024, the LA Rams are spending just $82.8 million on the defensive side of the football. Per, that is the least amount spent on defense in the NFL. Curiously, the Detroit Lions, led by GM Brad Holmes, is the second least expensive NFL defense. That is curious because he was a former personnel executive with the LA Rams before taking over as the new GM of the Lions. And the two-time NFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs clock in as the third least expensive defense.

Okay, so why all the income statement talk? Well, that is all due to the fact that the topic of spending on defensive players has come up, and LA Rams GM Les Snead has already said that Ernest Jones' extension is a priority for the team.

But as is the case with starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, contract negotiations are not well-timed at this very moment:

"We did talk to Ernest and what we did tell him is because of 2023, and how we went into that year to clean up our salary cap a little bit, we definitely wanted to use a lot of this years cash and cap on improving our team from last year. And that some of those guys might have to wait, play their senior year, per se, or their fourth year before we get to them, only because that is what we think right now is best for the 2024 version of the Rams. But you never know. We will always be in contact, but we have Ernests group know that that is probably the case (that he would play out year four) and that we would revisit it then"

Les Snead

Or to put it another way, the Rams focus in 2023 was in acquisition. In 2024, the team will pivot to extensions and retention:

So where does that leave Ernest Jones and the team's front office? It's a call for Ernest Jones to prove to the powers that be that he can be the spiritual, mental, and physical leader that this defense needs in 2024.