The Los Angeles Rams started the 2021 offseason with a big move, making a rare blockbuster NFL trade with the Detroit Lions to acquire veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The price to get Stafford wasn’t cheap, as the team gave the Lions Jared Goff, a former 1st overall pick back in 2016 and a quarterback who just a few years back was playing in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, in return.
That Rams team is very different from the one that will take the field in 2021 after they go through their roster of free agents as well as sign players and draft choices.
Los Angeles currently has 17 free agents on their roster as they try and figure out how to navigate through all 32 teams looking to ink players for the upcoming season.
The Rams last season were a 10-6 squad whose shortcomings, oddly enough, came on offense, which was their strength a few years ago when they were the NFC Champs.
They were 22nd of 32 in the league scoring points, putting up 372 points overall, translating out to 23.3 points per game.
They were first overall, allowing 18.5 points per game on defense, making big stops and getting pressure led by NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.
The team defeated rival Seattle in the NFC Wild Card game in Seattle 30-20 and then moved on to Green Bay, where Aaron Jones ran over them and ended their season with a 32-18 win.
Again this is going to be a very different looking offense with Stafford running it in 2021, but before that, here’s the complete list of free agents on the Rams roster:
RB Malcolm Brown
WR Josh Reynolds
TE Gerald Everett
TE Johnny Mundt*
C Austin Blythe
EDGE Samson Ebukam
EDGE Derek Rivers
DE Morgan Fox
CB Troy Hill
CB Darious Williams*
S John Johnson
LS Jake McQuaide
Offseason Outlook: As free agency starts, the Rams’ offense has four unrestricted free agents (UFA), one restricted free agent, and one exclusive-rights free agent to make decisions on.
With the struggles the offense had in 2020, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact that Stafford has on this team has they look to build on the 10-win season of last year.
The team started 4-1 last season with Goff having early success, but then they fell on hard times, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
The defense doesn’t really need to be messed with. This is the best unit in the league, and with Donald, is likely to be very good again in 2021.
A pair of free agent edge rushers, Samson Ebukam and Derek Rivers, are both players that the Rams want to have back.
That’s easier said than done, but it sounds like GM Les Snead and Coach Sean McVay know the plans to get this team back to making a long and deep playoff run that will include at least one home game.
The club has to figure out how to shave $32 million off the cap, and if they can do that and maintain their elite defense, this is a Rams team that has a lot going for it in 2021.