The LA Rams' defense has been driven by veterans. Whether you are happy over that fact or unhappy over that fact, it does not change the team's current makeup, however temporary. If the LA Rams do not extend a number of defensive starters who are projected to test their value in the upcoming NFL Free Agency market, the team will be getting younger. Much younger. Some fans are glad of that fact.. But there will come a price, as we will soon discuss.
A noticeable difference between NFL veterans and rookies is not necessarily the level of play, but rather the consistency and dependability of it. Right now, the Rams are coming off their 2022 NFL season with a record of 5-12, so there is no consistency or dependability to sustain. The consensus appears to be that this team has whiffed on the more recent drafts, and the Rams roster needs to reload. Fair enough. anyone from that team is on probation. But in the disappointment of 2022, is the team content to reform the defense of 2023 around the remaining veterans? It seems that the Rams front office has no other choice, now does it?
When the LA Rams tried to pry pass rush star DE Brian Burns from the Carolina Panthers, they failed. At the time, we pointed to the likelihood that the Rams had overinflated the market for proven veterans, and, as we pointed out:
"The LA Rams have long held to the practice of trading valuable but uncertain draft picks for certain NFL talent. That practice was successful as recently as 2021. But many NFL teams took notice and have since adopted that practice to build their own roster." - per Bret Stuer in Why LA Rams whiff for Panthers DE Brian Burns is serious, November 2022.
We are now seeing the repercussions of that. In some ways, it makes complete sense for the LA Rams front office to take a new strategy. The Rams have built today's roster on tomorrow's dollars, another novel NFL strategy that more and more teams are adopting. So, with more and more competition in the old ways, the LA Rams must now pioneer new ways of building a roster. In 2023, I believe the Rams will focus on building a better defense.