The LA Rams needed to create salary cap space and opted to do so in a number of unpopular ways. One was of doing so was initiating a trade of Robert Woods to the Tennessee Titans for a 2023 sixth-round pick, a pick that the team has yet to make. It was not a popular move then, and it's not a popular move now. In all honesty, it felt as though a part of the offense left with Robert Woods when he was traded.
Ironically, the Rams offense had it's worst statistical season without Robert Woods on the roster. Was it a cause and effect? Not a chance. But it may be interpreted by some as poetic justice. Robert Woods was the heart and soul of the LA Rams offense. And two of the detractors about the LA Rams offense in 2022 is the fact that it had no heart, and no soul.
The solution seems to be a simple one, bring Robert Woods back to the LA Rams offense, an offense that he was such an integral part of. He is an ideal complement to teammate Cooper Kupp. He checks all of the boxes in terms of what the LA Rams are looking for in the wide receiver position. The only drawback is he is under contract with the Tennessee Titans.
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That has been the problem, his contract with another NFL team. Or, is he?
Okay. So Robert Woods is an official NFL Free Agent. One of the many veterans who will find themselves cut by NFL teams in the coming weeks as cap casualties. All NFL teams must be under the 2023 NFL salary cap as of March 15, 2023, at 1:00 pm PT.
Now the question he is asking: Where should he go?
I have an answer to that question. And based on the social media reception to that answer, I am convinced that I am not alone.
The trick is that Robert Woods in 2023 may not be the same receiver who arrived to the LA Rams in 2017. He is older now, about to turn 31 years of age. He's had an ACL injury that may still be impacting his ability to make quick turns and burst off the line of scrimmage. And as a result, he may no longer be that perennial 1000+ yards receiver.
The truth of the matter is that he delivered for the Rams' offense for years, and he still has enough gas in the tank to fill a worthy role on this offense. He was a cap casualty because he was due to make $14.6 million in 2023, significantly more than his 527 yards and two-touchdown 2022 season performance warranted.
What is the right price now? Based on other wide receivers with that level of production, the LA Rams should be able to get Woods under contract for $3-4 million per year. Does the team have a spot on the roster for a wide receiver? Not really, as the team's only receiver who is about to hit the NFL Free Agent market is Brandon Powell, but he is viewed more as a punt and kick returner.
Bringing back Robert Woods is more than just restoring a productive player to this offense that he helped to make so great. It's symbolic, a matter that transcends just adding another free agent, and brings back a player who embodies everything it takes to be a contributor on the LA Rams offense.
I, for one, would love the idea of the Rams Free Agency re-)signing of Robert Woods. Not only would it allow the Rams to restore a productive player to this offense. But it could be a key step towards HC Sean McVay getting his groove back.