The draft is over and every pick has been dissected, graded and projected. The rookies will assemble for minicamp and the OTA portion of the off-season begins. Les Snead and the rest of the LA Rams front office needs to identify the ways in which they can fill out the fringes of the roster. Despite having an incredible free agency and a decent draft, there are still holes.
Les Snead’s job throughout the season is to find ways to fill out the fringes of the roster. Philadelphia’s Howie Roseman tinkered with the Eagles lineup all the way up to the trade deadline. The Rams don’t have a lot of cap space (about $6 million) to play with but there are small moves to be made. So we take a look at what some of the biggest needs are for the Los Angeles Rams as the season draws near.
FIND A VETERAN WIDEOUT:
The Rams are well stocked at wideout. Robert Woods is the primary target with second-year receiver Cooper Kupp right behind him. Second-year receiver Josh Reynolds is emerging as a big target in the end zone. They also have Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee at tight end. They finally traded Tavon Austin after failing to find a way to integrate him into the offense leaving Pharoh Cooper as the return man but can line up on offense if needed.
The Rams could still use some veteran help. Last summer Snead sent a second round pick to Buffalo for Sammy Watkins. Watkins didn’t make much of an impact which is why they traded their first rounder to New England for Brandin Cooks. In a perfect world, Cooks is the deep threat the Rams have craved and it seems that he will be playing for a long-term deal. Still, the Rams could use a veteran receiver.
The problem is there aren’t any Sammy-Watkins like figures available via trade that could fit cap wise. Jeremy Maclin is lingering out there on the free agent market. He could provide depth and while he isn’t a home run threat he’s a big target that can move the chains. The Rams are also a candidate for Brandon Marshall who is still a reliable possession receiver.
Sure, there’s still Dez Bryant but he’s not a fit in this offense. They already have enough personalities on the team and besides Dez is washed. He can’t get separation anymore and was never a good route runner. The Rams signed a bunch of undrafted free agents to compete for open spots but barring a gigantic diamond in the rough none are likely to make an impact this season. It’s possible Snead finds a way to get some veteran but its hard to see who that would be. Perhaps an answer will present itself once cuts are made in the summer.
ADD ANOTHER PASS RUSHER:
This is a much easier problem to solve. The pass rusher market while not teeming with stars does contain some quality veterans. They did a great job drafting some young blood but could use some experience. Tamba Hali is a guy that might still have something left in the tank. There’s also Junior Galette and Karl Klug. Both are 30 years old but they wouldn’t be asked to do a ton considering everything else the Rams have on the defensive line. Brian Cushing could even be brought in given his prior relationship to Wade Phillips.
The other Wade Phillips reunion could come in the form of Shane Ray. The Broncos declined the 5th year option on Ray. The Rams could trade for him and he’d fit in cap wise. He was a key cog on the Broncos team that won the Super Bowl four years ago. He could come in on a one year deal and flourish alongside Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald. They would have a defensive line rotation on par with the Eagles.
Given Snead’s ability to wheel and deal it’s entirely possible he’s capable of swinging something totally unexpected. It’s likely there won’t be any more gigantic stars but there could be names that end up mattering come playoff time.