Last year, the LA Ram’s season ended at the Memorial Coliseum earlier than many players and fans had hoped. A crushing defeat to the Falcons after a season that generated so much hope within the transitioning franchise. This was Sean McVays first year in LA and only the Rams second year there but heading into the 2018 off-season, the future seemed bright.
McVay and the Ram’s GM Les Snead then set out a bold plan. Put all your chips on the table for one hand and trust that you can manage the multiple factors that could do wrong. That hand was the 2018 season. The first move them made was trading for Marcus Peters for a second and fourth round pick. Peters had had his troubles at the chiefs the season before but was still regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the league.
Next, Aqib Talib was acquired in exchange for a 5th round draft pick. Talent wise, Talib is worth so much more than a 5th round pick but like Peters, Talib was known alone for his playing ability. He has been in multiple altercations on and off the field as well as been suspended for consuming illegal substances. Containing one trouble maker is tough but to be openly recruiting multiple was beginning to look like a recipe for disaster.
Ndamuking Suh signed a one year contract worth $14 million followed by the Rams trading for Branding Cooks at the cost of 1st and 6th round pick. Todd Gurley signed a $60 million contract, Aaron Donald signed $135 million contract and Havenstein signed a $32.5 million contract. whoever was tracking salary Cap must have had a few sleepless nights. Cooks was brought in to run the deep routes to stretch defenses. He has not always lived up to his potential just like his predecessor in this role, Sammy Watkins. $60 million is a lot to pay to a player who is unlikely to seethe majority of the target share behind Kupp and Woods. Woot more when you consider his lackluster carry this far.
Fast forward to October 2018, trade a 3rd round and 5th round draft pick for Donte Fowler. Suddenly, the Rams went from a team with a well drilled offence with a creative player called and an average defence to a more explosive offence and a star studded defence. Would personalities get in the way though?
I must admit during this transformation there was casualties. The Rams traded Alec Ogeltree and Robert Quinn which has been exposed this year with their run defence.They have sacrificed a lot of draft picks as well. This could cost them new blood in years to come to fill the gaps around these massive contracts. Speaking of contracts, Jared Goff will look to sign a contract in 2020. therefore people will have to leave. Lamarcus Joyner’s contract is up next season as well as Suh. Unless they can fill these roles with less expensive players, they may not be so scary.
If all goes to plan who cares. After all the NFL is designed for teams to not be dominate. The have the bones of a solid longterm team that they have turned into a possible Superbowl winning team. It might be a struggle in years to come but one Superbowl is always better than being in the top half of the league. I do believe the Rams will win on Sunday and this tactic will be more common around the league. You do need a coach that can control the locker room filling egos and that is something McVay certainly seems capable of.