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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LA Rams painted themselves into corner over Ernest Jones extension

Who is Ernest Jones's successor? That's a very good question, and one that I fear does not have an obvious answer right now. If we are being honest, I'm not convinced that anyone even knows who will line up next to him in a base 3-4 defensive alignment this season.

I, for one, believe that is the result of a deliberate decision by the front office and the coaching staff.

There were plenty of solide rookie prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft who had plenty of talent and were on the draft board for the team. Yet, just like the option to add a rookie quarterback, the team opted not to address the inside linebacker position until after the draft. Now, don't get me wrong. I believe that veteran ILB Christian Rozeboom can be a serviceable complement to Jones in this defense. And I am curious to see if second-year ILB Olakunle Fatukasi steps up into the rotation this year.

I also believe that the team signed two worthy rookies after the draft in former-LSU ILB Omar Speights and former-Marshall ILB Elias Neil. But none are realistically expected to challenge Jones for the right to start as the primary inside linebacker.

I suppose it is due to the respect the team has for Jones that they they avoided any perception of true training camp competition for that role in training camp of his contract year. Without direct competition for the starting ILB role and defensive signal-caller, the team has willingly created a void where the successor for Jones's job should stand.

And in doing so, the LA Rams painted themselves into corner over Ernest Jones's upcoming extension.

You can count on Ernest Jones to deliver this season, quite likely a career-best season. And you can count on the Rams extending Jones to a contract extension after he delivers in 2024. Everyone is in agreement over what comes next. But, because the timing is not right just yet, we all must wait for events to transpire before we see any contract being inked by either party.

As always, thanks for reading.