L.A. Rams: Key Losses and Pickups

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L.A. Rams Offseason 2022

As we approach training camp and the start of the 2022 NFL season, the Rams’ front office continues to keep a talented roster intact by drafting for depth and signing key players that are ready to come in and contribute right away. First things first, the Rams’ front office, led by Les Snead, made it clear that their first priority was making sure they signed All-Pro DT Aaron Donald and Superbowl MVP Cooper Kupp to contract extensions. They have managed to still bring in plenty of talent by working the cap while continuously signing and trading draft picks for high caliber players.

Former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller is back | WJMN - UPMatters.com
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Key Losses

Von Miller: The future HOFer was traded to the Rams last year and was big for them during their playoff run. He constantly bulldozed his way into the backfield for sacks and quarterback pressures. He rightfully earned himself a new contract, one that he eventually signed with the Buffalo Bills (six-year $120M). The Rams could not offer that much for that long. Von Millers presence and veteran leadership will 100% be missed on the edge as the rams try and defend their championship.

Robert Woods: Woods has been with team since 2017, which was McVay’s first season as head coach for Los Angeles. The nine-year pro had been a reliable weapon for McVay’s offense, as he was utilized in a variety of ways through jet sweeps, blocking schemes, and even running out of the backfield. Unfortunately, Woods suffered an ACL injury during practice last season right after the rams acquired Odell Beckham Jr. During free agency, the Rams continued their aggressive approach and signed Allen Robinson to a three-year $45M deal, making Woods up for sale and eventually led to a trade to the Titans for a 2023 sixth-round pick.

Andrew Whitworth: One of McVay’s most impactful pickups when he first became head coach of the Rams was signing Andrew Whitworth in 2017, who spent his first 11 seasons in the league with the Bengals. His veteran leadership and experience helped improve and provide stability for Los Angeles’ O-line during his five-year tenure with the team. Ultimately, he announced his retirement shortly after the team’s Superbowl victory. Joseph Noteboom will be his expected replacement.

Johnny Hekker: After 10 seasons with the team, the Rams waived Hekker this offseason due to cost savings, and he ended up signing a three-year deal with the Panthers. This was one of the quietest offseason losses for this team, as Hekker proved to be one of the best punters in the league for the past several years. One of the reasons why this team has had good special teams play over the years was due to Hekker’s strong leg. He was able to flip field position for the defense, and his ability to throw the ball on fake punts was wildly entertaining and surprisingly successful. It will be interesting to see how the Rams’ punt unit does this season without Hekker and his talents.

 

Philadelphia Eagles need for making a run at Bobby Wagner is obvious
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Key Pickups

Bobby Wagner: One of the biggest names in free agency was the former Seahawk’s All-Pro LB Bobby Wagner, who had been with Seattle for nine seasons. In a shocking offseason acquisition, he and the Rams ended up reaching an agreement, as he signed a five-year $50M deal with the club. The Rams have had big holes at the linebacker spot while struggling against the run in the past few years. Wagner adds that much needed linebacker talent that the team has needed for many years, alongside Donald and Leonard Floyd. What the Rams lose at the edge with Miller, they gain in the middle with Wagner.

Allen Robinson: During free agency, the Rams were able to add more talent to their receiving core by signing Robinson to a three-year $45M deal. With OBJ out with an ACL injury and trading away Robert Woods, Los Angeles needed some insurance to help their star Cooper Kupp. It remains to be seen if the team inks Odell to a deal anytime in the near future. The Rams are now loaded up with Robinson, who has been a WR1 with sub-par QB play during his time in Jacksonville and Chicago. Now he gets a chance to reach his full potential by joining a high-powered offense with a gun-slinging QB.

Troy Hill: Hill played five seasons with the Rams before signing with the Browns last season. Cleveland then traded Hill back to Los Angeles for a 2023 fifth-round pick. he has had his struggles early in his career but came into his own during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Hill is someone who is familiar with the defense and has been successful as a slot corner for this team.

Overall, the Rams continue to sign Al-Pro players to their roster. They have covered most of their needs on offense and defense this offseason. And their development team has done a tremendous job of bringing in talent from their later round picks like SS Nick Scott and LB Ernest Jones. This season will be interesting, as Los Angeles continues to push the “all in” philosophy, as they look to defend their title.

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