Why LA Rams will leverage NFL Waiver Wire to optimize roster
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams did not trade up and did not trade back in Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, which was probably a bit of foreshadowing as to how the team will conduct its business throughout the entirety of the LA Rams 2023 training camp - standing pat. The problem is, with more than half of the Rams roster populated with players that the team and coaching staff are meeting for the first time, how can they be certain of getting each selection right?
The short and honest answer is that they cannot. The LA Rams are not infallible and do not have some fortune teller AI analytics program that never misses. The Rams will miss the mark, as the recent waiver of LB/FB Matthew Jester indicates.
Much like a jigsaw puzzle, assembling a full image of a 90-man NFL roster requires finding and fitting together the framework pieces, and then finishing everything by adding the missing pieces to complete and round out the picture. It's virtually impossible to find and fit so many players who will not only meet the expectations of the coaching staff but who will complement without duplicating the skillsets of their teammates.
Some players won't meet the medical/physical exam. Others won't meet the expectations of the coaching staff in workouts and schemes. Finally, others will lag behind when the pads go on, and training camp pivots from track and field events to the contact sport we know and love as football.
Waive hello to new players
As the Rams roster begins to congeal, to take form through accumulating hours in training camp, the team may need to adjust the personnel. Without a lot of disposable cash to spend on the top free agent names still unsigned, the Rams front office will need to deploy a different tactic. That is why I expect this team to make greater use of the NFL Waiver Wire in 2023 than ever before.
There are two reasons for this. By claiming players who have been waived by other team, the Rams can leverage their less-than-successful 2022 NFL season to their advantage, essentially becoming the sixth of 32 teams as far as priority in claiming players who the Rams have interest in.
But the NFL waiver wire also allows the Rams to agree to terms of an NFL contract that were already negotiated. In essence, the Rams simply pick up where the former team left off. That can be quite advantageous as it allows the Rams to know the compensation and duration of a given player instantly, and the team can choose which players fit what the Rams want to do based on that compensation and how long that contract is in effect.
The Rams were successful with the use of the NFL Waiver Wire in 2022. Not only did the team successfully claim backup quarterback Baker Mayfield, but the team was also awarded DL Larrell Murchison, who promptly added a pair of quarterback sacks in his debut. While not Pro Bowlers, each claimed player made significant positive contribution to the team after their arrival.
The Rams free agency results were a bit pedestrian so far in the 2023 NFL season. But it's not over just yet. Keep an eye on the LA Rams and the NFL Waiver Wire this season. The Rams have an advantage in claiming waived players this season, and you know that the Rams love to leverage every advantage at their disposal.