You can’t fault the Los Angeles Rams for going all-in last season. They knew they had a championship contender. And they were right to do so.
The Rams came as close as you can get to winning a Super Bowl. They had a bad offensive day against the New England Patriots when it counted most, but they took their shot and won an NFC title. Nothing to be ashamed of.
The problem with going all-in for one season is the bills come due. The Rams knew they were going to lose some key pieces and that’s happening, as guard Rodger Saffold agreed to join the Tennessee Titans on a four-year, $44 million deal according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Rams already lost safety Lamarcus Joyner to the Oakland Raiders. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh hasn’t left yet but probably will. Center John Sullivan is likely on the move, too.
The Rams can still win a Super Bowl because they have a fantastic core, but it’s going to be harder this time around.
Rams lose some key players
Saffold was always unlikely to stay, because the Rams didn’t have the cap space to keep everyone. Saffold will turn 31 this season, but is still a very good guard. That the Titans paid him as handsomely as they did despite his age indicates that.
You can’t keep everyone in a salary-cap sport. Joyner and Suh are two other good examples. The Rams gave Joyner the franchise tag last season, presumably knowing they could keep him for one year on the tag and then lose him. Suh signed a one-year, $14 million deal, the kind of contract that teams with some extra cap space and championship teams can make.
The Rams were the story of the offseason a year ago, loading up like few other teams ever have over one offseason. You can’t do that twice in a row.
Rams retain Dante Fowler and add Eric Weddle
The Rams did retain one key player, giving edge rusher Dante Fowler one year for $12 million guaranteed. Fowler was added in a midseason trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, and the Rams needed an edge-rushing presence. And they did add safety Eric Weddle, who is still a quality player despite being 34 years old.
There’s no lack of star players in Los Angeles, even with some of the depth getting chipped away. Jared Goff still has a lot of good receivers to throw to and Todd Gurley in the backfield with him. Aaron Donald is still the best defensive player in football. The Rams will be a contender again.
But it’s already a lot different offseason for the Rams than a year ago.
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