The LA Rams pass rush must show up in the final two games of 2023

Los Angeles Rams v Denver Broncos, Raheem Morris
Los Angeles Rams v Denver Broncos, Raheem Morris / Tyler Schank/GettyImages
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The LA Rams defense may not be world beaters right now. But the path to success for this team never planned to be for the defense to transform into the engine pulling the train through this season. If it comes down to putting your money where your mouth is, the Rams have placed their financing solely on the offensive side of the football in 2023.

I was a bit too hasty in my assertion that the LA Rams pass rush was getting back on track this season. While young players certainly have been impressive, I did not factor in the lull by veteran defensive lineman Aaron Donald after the Week 10 BYE. Without Donald leading the charge, the Rams have been forced to rely upon a recharged offense to pull the load.

Per Over The Cap, the Rams' positional spending for 2023 has been undeniably skewed. The Rams have invested nearly $85.5 million into the offense this season, and just $51.7 million into the defense. That's a vastly lopsided amount, but it was deliberately planned that way. After all, the Rams' strategy for 2023 was to leave the offense relatively intact. On the defensive side of the football, the Rams released or traded practically all veterans who were no longer on their rookie contracts and were not named Aaron Donald.

Follow the money

For comparative purposes, the Rams are spending the 32nd least amount of money on the defense out of 32 NFL teams. But the Rams are not exactly going overboard on offense, as they are spending the 27th least amount of money on offense. The Rams' total active payroll expense of $134 million is among the bottom rung of any NFL team this year. The Rams swallowed over $77 million of dead salary cap space this year, limiting how much the team could spend.

Gone is All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey, traded to the Miami Dolphins for TE Hunter Long and a Round 3 draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Gone too is All-Pro inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was released by the Rams after just one season on the team. Gone too is outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, an underappreciated pass rusher who has 10.5 quarterback sacks on the Buffalo Bills defense, and is clearly not benefitting from the Aaron Donald effect this year.

Do you get what you pay for? The LA Rams and Rams fans have to hope for something better than than right now.