2023 Rams Offseason: A Partial Remodel Or A Full Rebuild?

Jalen Ramsey, Allen Robinson, and Leonard Floyd are all potentially on the move. How will the Rams offseason shake out?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams
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Water is wet, the sun rises in the east, and Rams fans think the sky is falling. Once news broke that Jalen Ramsey might be on the move, a lot of people assumed the LA Rams offseason was reverting back to that of the Jeff Fisher days or the Scott Linehan days.

Sean McVay and Aaron Donald should’ve just retired if Stan Kroenke and Les Snead were going to close up shop and hope the 2030s are where it all happens.

This is understandable because the Rams openly taking calls about Jalen is weird considering there isn’t an offer that would justify eating $19m in dead money and the Rams aren’t exactly flush with cornerback talent.

2023 Rams Offseason

What happens to Jalen Ramsey will define the Rams offseason.
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Things, of course, got even more hysterical when it was announced that Allen Robinson is on the trade block (the Rams would eat a big portion of his salary this year), and as predicted Leonard Floyd is set to be a post-June-1 release if they can’t make a trade (he’d get them $15.5 in savings if released in June.)

So losing their best corner by a mile and their second-best pass rusher by a lightyear sounds like a team attempting to “Faileb for Caleb” in 2023 but it’s more nuanced than that.

The debate over whether this season is a rebuild or a remodel is more than a battle over semantics. The Rams aren’t the dank urine-soaked hellhole Tarek El Moussa would gut to the joists but rather the dated house that is a few targeted fixes from being a lucrative flip.

With Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp still on the roster as well as McVay coming back doesn’t make sense if the plan is to bottom out and win five games again. That’s illogical, but this also isn’t going to be an “ALL-IN” year either. This is what they probably should’ve done last year. But everyone from the organization to the fans wasn’t ready to admit it to themselves.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
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Instead, they chased after luxury items that delayed the inevitable (signing Robinson, extending Joseph Noteboom, trading for Troy Hill, etc.) 2023 is going to be about recovering from those moves. Unfortunately, that means they have to pay for their sins in blood. That blood likely comes in the form of Floyd, Brian Allen, Allen Robinson, and A’Shawn Robinson, among others.

In the short term, this will suck. Especially if they do in fact trade Jalen. The Rams are about $13 million over the cap, so be prepared for the Rams to get a bunch of late-round comp picks once Baker Mayfield and others get deals elsewhere.

Everyone will freak out when the Rams don’t completely overhaul the team in March and April. They’d have money to play with in the summer and less dead money in 2024. This is important because as the smart teams know, a team isn’t finished in the spring or the summer. Case in point, Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr didn’t show up until October and November, and Baker didn’t show up until December.

The Rams are giving themselves the flexibility to pick off other teams’ post-June 1st releases to shore up the team or to find a disgruntled player they can pluck at the deadline. This can sound like something a fan would say if they were wearing Cyclops’s ruby quartz glasses causing them not to see the red flags but it’s not. It’s reality.

The Rams can’t go all in this year but that doesn’t mean they can’t do so in 2024. Aaron Donald will be in the last year of his deal and most of their dead money will be gone. They’ll have a lot more cap space and they can get out of the Joe Noteboom deal and other ill-advised moves they’ve made in the last few years.

Also, as many will mention this year but they’ll actually have their first-round pick next year assuming they don’t trade it first. 2024 feels like the endgame as it’ll be Donald’s last year and Stafford might be near the end as well. To get to their endgame they need to take a few hits, give up their Time Stone, and suffer some snap-like losses.

All of the salary pruning won’t matter if they don’t hit big in the draft this year. They need to come away with a few blue-chip guys like Seattle did in last year’s draft. Les Snead’s drafts over the last few years haven’t been great so this is a big ‘IF.’ If they can hit on one pass rusher, one offensive lineman, and some sort of playmaker on either side of the ball be it a cornerback, tight end, running back, etc., they can build on that.

2023 seems like the Rams are going to make great pains to rebuild their offense. The defense will suffer unless, of course, they can get some rookies to shine, Donald comes back strong, and Michael Hoecht takes a leap. Even then, the defense will suffer but how much will depend on what they can get out of the above.

Fixing the offense is the priority for 2023 and if McVay and Mike LaFleur can rebuild the line and generate a living-breathing run game, then that sets the foundation for major moves in 2024.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The doomsayers are thinking this is another case of HOMER blindness or snorting the same hopium that caused many including some on this website to talk up Allen Robinson but it’s not. Stafford and Kupp, plus blocking, and a complementary run game can win enough games in an NFC with no one at the top as a sure-fire contender. Everyone is flawed and thus a wild card spot if not winning the division is a reality.

A lot has to go right in order for that to happen and it can be difficult to see it happening at this point of the year but it’s possible (sure, so is winning the lottery or dating Pete Davidson, but this is more feasible).

Right now things aren’t as fun as they were a year ago. That’s undeniable. Everyone is licking their wounds and still salty that they were sold a bill of goods last year. It sucks. It would’ve been nice to have one season to validate their title season rather than allowing the narrative that they were a bunch of frontrunners that didn’t do any of the work to build a team.

Real ones know that’s not entirely true but still. There was hope that the Rams would bounce back with good health and some adjustments but right now it looks like they’re punting. The doomsayers feel like their long-term gripes with the team are finally proving to be right and because of not drafting Creed Humphrey, keeping Raheem Morris, or whatever the original sin is, the Rams deserve to be punished with a decade of darkness.

In reality, the Rams are working on recovering from their hangover and as anyone who has suffered a massive hangover, the recovery can take a minute. Last year was the portion of the hangover spent over a toilet and pounding Pedialyte. This year is the portion where they throw on clothes, go to work, and are more or less functional.

They’ll have draft picks (believe it or not) and are positioning themselves to at least have enough cap space to retool the roster based on how well things go before the deadline. Jettisoning Floyd and Robinson wouldn’t come without McVay and Donald knowing about it so if they’re cool with it, there’s no reason to think both are prepared for a total teardown project.

The Ramsey of it all is confounding but there’s still a chance he sticks around for at least another year. The team’s true identity and intentions won’t be known until at least the summer. Remodels take time and often take a while to see the results. So for now take a deep breath, and do some mock drafts.

Or do literally anything else.