The football world is split when projecting the 2019 Los Angeles Rams season. One side predicts a regression with a Super Bowl slump, citing the bizarre drop off from Todd Gurley Jr. and the discovery that Jared Goff‘s QBR sinks to dismal levels when under pressure. The other side argues that the Rams are still NFC favorites to return to the Super Bowl with returning stars and big free-agent signings.
Those big signings, re-signing Dante Fowler and adding Clay Matthews, and Eric Weddle have addressed most of the Rams obvious concerns, but it has also dug significantly into their cap space. In order to fill the remaining team needs, the Rams will have to be smart with their money in the remaining free agency period and should consider adding a few low-cost players.
While Ware didn’t blow anyone away when he stepped into the starting role for week 16 and 17 in Kansas City, he also didn’t slow down the high-flying Chiefs. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry in those two games and 4.82 on the season. With news around Gurley’s arthritis remaining murky, investing in a solid number two seems prudent, if not necessary. From all indications, he is looking to continue as a second back rather than stepping into a starting role. Most recently, he has been eyeing Detroit as a landing spot, who drafted RB Kerryon Johnson in the 2nd round in 2018. Perhaps, the Rams aren’t worried about Gurley’s future, but with the retention of Malcolm Brown and bringing in Ware, they would have a very versatile and deep backfield.
Te’o saw his playing time significantly cut by the Saints in 2018, playing in only 5 games. Due to several knee and foot injuries he has never completed a full season, but his lack of playing time last season was due to a stacked Saints LB depth chart. However, when he did play he remained highly rated by Pro Football Focus, rating consistently in the 80’s. Around the league, Te’o is seen as an underperformer and this reputation will keep his salary cap hit low for his third contract. If Te’o truly does have what it takes to make a splash in the NFL, it will be brought out when working with defensive legends Wade Phillips and fellow linebacker Clay Matthews.
The Rams GM Les Snead made it pretty clean this week that they won’t be re-signing former Cornhusker, Ndamukong Suh. This leaves them with a large hole (literally) to fill. Danny Shelton certainly would fill that gap. Danny Shelton is 6’2″, 345 lbs. and, like Suh, was drafted in the first round. Unlike Suh, Shelton’s career trajectory is pointing up.
Simply put, Danny Shelton would bring more effort, but cost much less. After three seasons with the dismal Browns, he was dealt to New England. There, he was used situationally and looked better than ever, growing into an even more dominant run stopper. Despite their star power, anchored in Suh and Aaron Donald, the Rams defense ranked 23rd in the league last season against the run, allowing 5.1 yards per run, and 122.3 yards per game. Shelton has piqued the interest of several teams around the league with a visit to the Bengals and Seattle, and New England expressing interest in signing him. After the addition of Clay Matthews to the squad, the Rams should consider adding some younger talent to the defense.