Too little money or too little upside? LA Rams FAs are a little of both

Les Snead
Les Snead / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

While you may or not be pleased with the LA Rams lack of activity in what is nearly Week 3 of the 2023 NFL Free Agency market, one thing is quite certain. The LA Rams cannot be accused of overpaying for any players added to the roster so far. So the question is, does this year's offseason austerity have more to do with the financial side of the roster, in that the LA Rams simply haven't the funds available to spend on veteran players? Or is this a matter of the Rams being a bit disenchanted with the results of their players whose contracts have expired, and now simply want to distance themselves from those, create as much of a blank slate for a new coaching staff, and simply start over?

Or more succinctly, is this a case of too little upside on players, or too little money to spend on veterans? I suspect that it's a little of both.

While we know that the LA Rams struggled through 2022 NFL season, did anyone pause to think of the carnage was being caused to the Rams financial picture by being forced to add so many veteran replacements off the street last season? The Rams carried over $58 million on Injured Reserve players. That is a huge burden for a team to pay for players to convalesce. It was such a burden that it allowed the LA Rams to only carry forward $405K from their 2022 payroll as free salary cap space into 2023, the smallest amount of any NFL team

And this was all from a 5-12 season.

You go back, Jack, do it again

It was clear that the LA Rams, for all of the top-tier NFL talent that burst its payroll year after year, this team had bobbed and weaved so often in the past that the Rams roster simply was no longer a cohesive group, nor was it aligned with the coaching staff's vision of what the team needed in terms of player skillsets.

When fully healthy, the sheer abundance of talent on the team made detecting the Rams roster deficiencies difficult. But when the veterans began to fall to injury, the Rams organization discovered that the team was no longer hardwood from top to bottom. Rather, the Rams roster was veneer covering particle board, the less expensive but heavy as hell box furniture that you can acquire for cheap at a nearby discount department store.

But the entire Rams organization agreed that 2022 was less of an anomaly than fans may have realized. Players who fit the needs of previous coaches, coaches who are now long removed from the LA Rams coaching staff, no longer have a contributing role on the Rams roster. And veterans who were slated to be paid significantly more salary in 2023 and 2024 no longer made sense for a team that was less likely to compete in the Super Bowl this season.

I feel a draft

With a deep and talented draft class and few funds at the ready, the LA Rams are taking the team down to the studs and rebuilding from there. This team has 44 players, more than a half dozen fewer players than in February 2023, and fewer by far than any other NFL team currently. It appears that the Rams roster is counting on an infusion of talent from the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Rams not only have a chance to reset their roster but to lock in incredibly inexpensive players for the next four years in the process.

Is it a wise move? If the Rams hit on their draft picks in 2023, this team could conceivably be back in the NFL Playoff hunt with renewed vigor in 2024 and beyond. But even with a robust rookie draft class, the Rams will be inconsistent and streaky in 2023, as so many new young players learn the ropes of the NFL.

Trending. 4 disastrous picks LA Rams must avoid in the 2023 NFL Draft. dark

But that's okay. How much worse can the 2023 NFL season be from the 5-12 2022 NFL season?