Road to Success: Creating the ultimate Rams off-season for HC Sean McVay

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Out with the old and in with the new…That’s the new mantra with the Rams, bringing in 30-year old HC Sean McVay to replace veteran HC Jeff Fisher. The Rams have some pieces that they will be keeping from the Fisher era of Rams football, but those are the good pieces. In this piece, I try my best to do the impossible and project what the 2017 Los Angeles Rams will look like. 


Total Available Cap: $168,304,311

Total Team Cap: $106,079,595

Cap Space at the moment: $37,394,280

Cap Space in this scenario: $62,224,716

Cap Space left in this scenario: $6,534,716


Cap Casualties: $12,023,368 saved

C Tim Barnes $3,000,000 saved

DE Eugene Sims $2,500,000 saved 

FS Cody Davis $1,611,111 saved 

TE Cory Harkey $1,300,000 saved 

G David Arkin $775,000 saved 

RB Tre Mason $752,257 saved

OT Darrell Williams $615,000 saved

RB Brandon Wegher $540,000 saved

WR Marquez North $465,000 saved

FB Zach Laskey $465,000 saved 



Tim Barnes has been really bad for the Rams and shedding his salary would free up $3 million for a team that will need to allocate that space elsewhere. With the roster cuts of Eugene Sims, Cody Davis and Cory Harkey they come because it’s a new era. Expect some extra roster moves to come with the new look coaching staff in Los Angeles.


Trades: $5,3591,077 saved

OLB Mark Barron & DE William Hayes traded to Cleveland Browns for ILB Demario Davis and NT Danny Shelton 



I have been thinking for awhile that Hayes and Barron really fit with Gregg Williams scheme and may not be part of the plans moving forward for the new look Wade Phillips defense. That’s not to say Phillips wouldn’t be against keeping them, but with lengthy and hefty contracts on top of lack of fit I would likely trade them away now. The Rams need another inside linebacker and a nose tackle. Introducing both of those needs addressed by acquiring Demario Davis and Danny Shelton. Davis is more of a plug-in-play for the Rams defense as they could possibly grab their inside linebacker in next year’s draft and Shelton gets to move Brockers over in a role that could utilize his underrated strength as a pass rusher. It sure would look like a nightmare scenario for opposing offenses to have to go up against Brockers, Shelton and Donald on the line. 


Other Cap Moves: $9,169,193 saved

DE Robert Quinn $3,591,077 saved with base salary restructure 

WR Tavon Austin $2,180,000 saved with base salary restructure 

G Rodger Saffold $1,911,116 saved with base salary restructure 

TE Lance Kendricks $1,487,000 saved with base salary restructure 



This one is pretty obvious. The players listed above have been unable to live up to their respective contracts. This wouldn’t be a pay cut this just allocates the money and lowers the cap hit for this year. If players like Tom Brady can restructure their contract year in and year out then these guys can as well. 


Re-signings: $21,690,000

RB Chase Reynolds $900,000 annually 

DE Matt Longacre $840,000 annually

DE Ethan Westbrooks $1,750,000 annually 

DT Dominique Easley $3,000,000 annually 

CB Blake Countess $700,000 annually 

CB Trumaine Johnson $13,000,000 annually

K Greg Zuerlein $1,500,000 annually 



The biggest headline is what will happen with Trumaine Johnson? The Rams let Janoris Jenkins leave in free agency last year to keep Johnson. It’s time they actually gave a contract to their cornerback. The other guys mentioned like Easley, Longacre, Westbrooks and Zuerlein will all have spots on the Rams roster. Blake Countess is someone I expect the Rams to bring back and have compete for a roster spot in camp. Coach Bones is back with the Rams, expect him to retain Chase Reynolds for his special teams. I believe the Rams will lose T.J. McDonald and Benny Cunningham in free agency. 


Free agent signings: $34,000,000

WR Pierre Garcon $8,500,000 annually 

WR Robert Woods $8,000,000 annually

OT Benjamin Ijalana $4,000,000 annually

OT Jordan Mills $1,500,000 annually

CB AJ Bouye $11,000,000 annually

CB Kayvon Webster $1,000,000 annually



The Rams are unlikely to bring back Kenny Britt or Brian Quick who were made up of over half of the offensive production last season. To replace them? How about a seasoned veteran Sean McVay knows and a 24-year old that has already surpassed anything Quick did with the Rams. The Rams would have Robert Woods, Pierre Garcon, Tavon Austin and Pharoh Cooper as their top four wide receivers which would be a huge improvement over of the last seven years. Ben Ijalana would be the solid addition from the Jets who could be plugged in at left tackle in front of a draft pick or if god forbid . . . the Rams still think Greg Robinson can play left tackle. Jordan Mills from Buffalo would be the one piece that comes over to join new OL coach Aaron Kromer who is from the Bills. Both A.J. Bouye and Kayvon Webster were coached by Wade Phillips and I think that connection guarantees Webster to the Rams, but makes it likely Bouye leaves for the Rams if he actually ends up leaving Houston. 


Free agent losses: 

QB Case Keenum

RB Benny Cunningham 

WR Kenny Britt 

WR Brian Quick

DT Cam Thomas

SS T.J. McDonald


2017 Draft Picks:

2nd Round 37th: Ethan Pocic, C, LSU

3rd Round 69th: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

4th Round 112th: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State

4th Round 141st: Fish Smithson, FS, Kansas 

5th Round 149th: Glen Antoine, NT, Idaho

6th Round 161st: Joe Mathis, EDGE, Washington 

7th Round 225th: Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force

7th Round 236rd: Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee


53-Man Roster:

QB: Jared Goff/Sean Mannion/Joshua Dobbs 

RB (5): Todd Gurley/Malcolm Brown/Aaron Green/Chase Reynolds (ST)

WR: Robert Woods/Jalen Robinette

WR: Pierre Garcon/Nelson Spruce

SWR: Tavon Austin/Pharoh Cooper

TE (3): Lance Kendricks/Tyler Higbee/Temarrick Hemingway

LT: Benjamin Ijalana/Roderick Johnson

LG: Greg Robinson/Jamon Brown

C: Ethan Pocic/Cody Wichmann 

RG: Rodger Saffold/Andrew Donnal

RT: Rob Havenstein/Jordan Mills 

DE: Aaron Donald/Dominique Easley

NT: Danny Shelton/Glen Antoine

DE: Michael Brockers/Ethan Westbrooks

OLB: Josh Forrest/Joe Mathis

ILB: Alec Ogletree/Bryce Hager

ILB: Demario Davis/Cory Littleton

OLB: Robert Quinn/Matt Longacre

CB: Trumaine Johnson/Mike Jordan

CB: A.J. Bouye/Kayvon Webster 

NCB: Chidobe Awuzie/LaMarcus Joyner

FS: Fish Smithson/Brian Randolph

SS: Maurice Alexander/Marqui Christian 

K: Greg Zuerlein

P: Johnny Hekker

LS: Jake McQuaide 


Practice Squad:

RB Shock Linwood, Baylor 

WR Paul McRoberts, SE Missouri State

TE Bryce Williams, East Carolina

OT Pace Murphy, Northwestern State

G Jessamen Dunker, Tennessee State

ILB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn

OLB Javancy Jones, Jackson State

CB Blake Countess, Auburn

CB Daquan Holmes, American International, College

SS Leon McQuay III, USC


Final summary:

In this scenario the Rams finish the 2017 off-season with little to no positional weaknesses. I believe that you really can’t do much at QB seeing as how much stock has been poured into Jared Goff. Todd Gurley leads a good group of all returning running backs besides Benny Cunningham who is in this scenario leaves in free agency. The Rams bulk up their wide receiver corps with new WR’s Pierre Garcon and Robert Woods leading the charge with their field stretcher in the form of Tavon Austin in the slot. Out of the tight end position the Rams keep it pretty similar to last year in hopes of developing Higbee and Hemingway the right way. The offensive line stays pretty similar to last year’s except for the addition of Ethan Pocic at center via the draft and a new left tackle to be a placeholder for the time being in former Jets left tackle Benjamin Ijalana. 


With the switch to the 3-4 base defense that Wade Phillips runs, the Rams move their face of the franchise Aaron Donald to defensive end along with former defensive tackle Michael Brockers due in part to a trade with Cleveland. The Rams trade DE William Hayes and OLB Mark Barron to the defensive scheme they fit the most. In return the Rams receive a veteran who can start immediately as an inside backer in a 3-4 Demario Davis and a true nose tackle in young stud Danny Shelton. Robert Quinn mans the “Von Miller” role on the edge standing up as a pass rusher and Phillips starts former sixth round pick Josh Forrest on the outside so he can now fit the scheme. What is most impressive is the type of secondary Phillips has himself built in the first season in Los Angeles. Right off the bat he has a 6-foot-2 physical CB Trumaine Johnson, 6-foot CB he coached in Houston A.J. Bouye and at nickel corner he has Colorado stud third rounder Chidobe Awuzie. Playing behind them, fourth round pick Fish Smithson starts at free safety to allow rising star safety Maurice Alexander to kick into his natural position at strong safety. 


There is no telling how well this team will compete in Sean McVay’s rookie year as a Head coach but this is the ultimate off-season that the Rams brass can put together for McVay to succeed. It would just be up to him after all of these moves. Looking forward to Free Agency, the NFL scouting combine and the eventual NFL draft this gives you an idea of the type of moves general manager Les Snead will have to make to give his young head coach the best chance to succeed.


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