Alas, the new NFL season has kicked off and with the Rams so has a culture change after their recent signings today. I think it’s about time we take a look at each one and what they bring to the Los Angeles Rams for not only this season but the future.
Andrew Whitworth, LT, 35 years old (3 years, 36 million dollars w/ 15 million dollars guaranteed)
Andrew Whitworth was the one signing I did not see coming at all. I felt as though Whitworth was eyeing a team like Denver or Seattle but the Rams really came to bat and offered Whitworth some serious money to get this deal done. There were other LT’s out there so why Whitworth? First off Whitworth is a three-time Pro Bowler, and a former first-team All-Pro. Whitworth has been a perfect model of consistency over the years and that is exactly what the Rams haven’t had at the second most important position on offense.
The Rams have gone through a brutal deal with Jake Long that blew up in their face but this deal is nothing like the risky one the Rams made for Long. Whitworth is older yes, but he is much better than Long was at the time of signing, Seven out of the last eight years Whitworth has started the entire season, he has only missed eight true starts in his career. This isn’t a guy that is going to drop the ball because that’s not in Whitworth’s blood, he was ranked the second overall tackle in the league per Pro Football Focus and has shown no sign of age affecting his play.
The Rams poured some serious assets into a package that would end up allowing them to acquire their hopeful franchise QB Jared Goff with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Goff has not had the protection he needs to succeed and far worse he didn’t have the protection from his blind side. This move allows Goff to feel more comfortable knowing his blind side is taken care of by Whitworth.
Oh and the structure of this deal is brilliant on Snead’s part. Whitworth’s first year is fully guaranteed but then after that only some of year two is guaranteed and none of year three is guaranteed. If the Rams get what they expect out of Whitworth he will retire with the Rams, but even if they don’t the Rams have a way out of this deal without crippling themselves.
Overall, Whitworth’s job is to protect Goff now while the Rams look for a future cornerstone left tackle possibly in the draft this year or next year. This signing gives the Rams stability to move disgruntled former No.2 overall draft pick Greg Robinson at guard. The Rams have not had a LT this caliber since Orlando Pace so this should be a breath of fresh air for Rams fans and of course Jared Goff.
Robert Woods, WR, 24 years old (5 years, 39 million w/ 15 million dollars guaranteed)
The signing I knew was coming for the Rams was the move to bring Robert Woods back to the coliseum where he played college football. The Rams lost Kenny Britt to the Cleveland Browns on a similar deal but it seemed as though he wanted to test the market more than re-sign. While many include myself also believed Pierre Garcon was going to follow his offensive coordinator and go to the Rams, I knew Woods was who McVay was going to target to fill that Garcon role.
Robert Woods is 24 years old and just signed a five-year deal with a team that is allowing him to come back and play close to home. Woods has always been a player I have liked since the draft, the Bills used a second round pick on him but he never was given the chance to live up to that selection. With the Bills trading up and drafting dynamic No.1 WR Sammy Watkins it basically left Woods in a cloud as Watkins was receiving the majority of the targets. Now, normally a No.2 WR receives the brunt of the passes too, however in Buffalo the offensive is more emphasized on running the football. During Woods’ four years with the Bills, three out of those four times the Bills had over 2,200 team rushing yards. It’s apparent Woods was never given the opportunity to take over as a starting WR.
In this case Woods comes to the Rams as the No.1 WR across the field from Tavon Austin and likely with Pharoh Cooper in the slot. The Rams are very likely to draft or make a move for another WR to go alongside Woods, perhaps in the form of Kamar Aiken, Andre Holmes, Marquess Wilson or even Josh Gordon who all have crazy size and speed combinations. Regardless, what many think this is a good move for the Rams they are paying less than Woods’ actual market value of eight million annually per Spotrac and it could even up paying off in a huge way. If not, the way the contract is based is that Woods is only guaranteed 15 of his nearly 40 million million dollars. If he doesn’t pan out the Rams are not pigeon holed.
Aaron Murray, QB, 26 years old (Contract unknown at this time)
Lastly out of the bunch of the Rams free agent signings today was Aaron Murray who played backup QB for the Chiefs but is more known for being the QB at Georgia. Murray comes into a situation that seems as though he will be the No.3 quarterback in training camp. Sources have stressed that the coaching staff likes Sean Mannion and he will remain the backup to Jared Goff. Murray is a nice move and in my opinion, if he makes the roster the Rams are deep at QB.
Murray played at Georgia with Todd Gurley of course and the two friends will be reunited again. No need for jersey swapping now. These two are reunited in one of the low key moves that you can’t hate.