III: Can this starter heal quickly enough for 2024?
The LA Rams may not be strongly committed to the retention of veteran tight ends, but don't tell that to starting tight end Tyler Higbee. Higbee is currently signed through the 2025 NFL season, so there is no concern over whether or not the Rams offer him an extension. The big question mark hovering over Higbee in 2024 is the basic question: Will he be healthy enough to play?
There are plenty of reasons for legitimate concerns over Higbee for the upcoming season. He is 31 years old, which is beyond the Rams comfort zone for injured players (30 years old). He is coming off a serious ACL injury suffered during the Rams playoff game on January 14, 2023. And Higbee's availability was hampered by ongoing minor injuries during the 2023 season.
Higbee played 15 games and caught just 47 of 70 passes for 495 yards and two touchdowns. Those were the lowest season totals for Higbee since 2018, a year when he split tight end duties with teammate Gerald Everett. Because his injury occured in January 2024, his availability for the 2024 NFL season is already in question. This injury comes after a sprained MCL held him out of Super Bowl LVI, and a strained Achilles Tendon limited his availability to start the 2023 NFL season.
How does this impact the team's offseason strategy?
With uncertainty surrounding Higbee, as well the oft-injured TE Hunter Long, the team is looking at only rookie Davis Allen as a healthy and dependable contributor for 2024. The Rams did add two tight ends on Reserve/Future contracts, but if Sean McVay's offense has any concerns over Higbee in 2024, the team will undoubtedly add at least one tight end this offseason.
You would love to see tight end Brock Bowers fall to the Rams at 19 here, wouldn't you? I believe that even while Bowers is consistently showing as a Top-10 prospect, he could slip a bit with so many star offensive tackles, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and even edge rushers' stock rising. Even if the Rams do not have the opportunity to add Bowers, I would be shocked if they do not address the tight end position until Round 5.