The LA Rams defense took a step backwards today

Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The NFL is part of the complex and sometimes mystifying entertainment industry. It is the game of professional football, a game whose heritage is deeply embedded in the culture of the USA. At times, it is a magical sport, a catalyst that can focus everyone from an entire metropolitan city to cheer for the same objective. But at other times, it's merely a business.

Today, the LA Rams look, sound, and feel very much like a business.

Of course, there are many forces at work in change. And there is the accepted principal that sometimes to get two steps forward, you have to take one step backward.

Right now, the LA Rams feel like a team that has taken a massive step backward. And coming off a 5-12 season, with a defense that struggled to mount a pass rush and defend the pass, that just seems like a step in the wrong direction.

RED HOT. LA Rams do the unthinkable by releasing All-Pro ILB Bobby Wagner . dark

Are Rams pivoting from players to picks?

I'm not saying that the LA Rams are suddenly tanking in the season that offers their first first round draft pick since HC Sean McVay has taken over the LA Rams, yet. But if the team's goal is to improve upon their 38 quarterback sacks from the 2022 season, then releasing a defender who suited up in every game and delivered six of those 38 quarterback sacks seems like a very odd direction to take to improve the team.

The LA Rams finished 2022 with a 5-12 record, and their first-round pick, the sixth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, is in the hands of the Detroit Lions. But the 2024 NFL Draft will find the LA Rams stepping up to the podium on Day 1, unless the team makes another blockbuster trade.

If the Rams front office and coaching staff believe that this roster cannot achieve another Super Bowl victory as is, with the additions from the 2023 NFL Draft, then it makes sense for the team to release veteran inside linebacker to give him a chance to sign on with a team that has a better chance of competing in the 2023 NFL Playoffs.

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The Rams have seven picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, including their first-round pick. The team swapped a seventh-round pick for an additional sixth-round pick. Do the Rams see their path back to the playoffs as a two-year process? If that is the case, then the team may be looking at more than veteran Bobby Wagner as expendable. That could mean a very emotional roller coaster sort of offseason ahead.