Les Snead’s ability to draft players especially outside the first round is underrated. He’s built the Sean McVay era Rams largely by finding gems outside of the first round which he hasn’t drafted in since drafting Jared Goff in 2016. The problem is his cap management or trust in Tony Pastoors to do so.
Over the last two years, this caused the Rams to constantly be in a position where they have to decide whether two talented players stay or go. This issue really came to the forefront this off-season after cutting Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks eating over $20 million in dead money because it gave them less leeway. They let both Cory Littleton and Dante Fowler Jr. go. Next season, they are in a precarious position with two of their offensive players in wide receiver Josh Reynolds and tight end Gerald Everett. Both are poised for a sustained breakout under new offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell but who wins the stay or go battle?
Building For The Future: Josh Reynolds Or Gerald Everett
The Case For Josh Reynolds
Josh Reynolds has been an unsung figure in Los Angeles. He was drafted in 2017 in the 4th round a little after Cooper Kupp was selected in the third.
He didn’t have the immediate breakout that Kupp did but he’s been a reliable target when asked. His stats are modest with 61 catches, 832 yards, and seven touchdowns. But he’s usually coming in as either the fourth wideout or filling in for an injured Cooper Kupp as he did in 2018 or Brandin Cooks in 2019.
He doesn’t have a lot of highlight-reel plays but he’s proven he can move the chains when asked. What hurts him is that despite a vacuum forming in the slot position he doesn’t have it locked down. The Rams drafted Van Jefferson in round two this year and depending on how camp goes he could usurp Reynolds as he’s drawn comparisons to Cooper Kupp.
The Case For Gerald Everett
In the stay or go battle it would seem Gerald Everett would win in a walk. He’s more gifted athletically and has a lot more highlight-reel plays. To date, he’s amassed 86 catches, 972 yards, and 7 touchdowns. The problem is that for some reason, be it his issues with route running or grasp of the offense, he hasn’t cemented the starting job.
Tyler Higbee is not only the starting tight end but he already received an extension. Not only that, but the Rams drafted Brycen Hopkins in the fourth round and have the stout blocking tight end Johnny Mundt.
Part of the glut at tight end is the idea that for the first time since his time in Washington, Sean McVay will utilize multiple tight end packages since the offense has so many young pieces. Everett has the ability to be a great tight end and he’s gotten better every season but it hasn’t felt like it’s all come together at this point. That said, McVay has said multiple times that he wants him more involved. The Rams might opt to instead trade him at some point because he has a lot of raw value given how hard it is to find a good tight end.
At the end of the day, it is more likely that Josh Reynolds sticks around beyond 2020 because he won’t demand a large deal as he hasn’t truly broken out. It’ll depend on how Jefferson develops of course but he’d be the cheaper option between the two at this point.
Everett could wind up being the tight end everyone expects him to be and the Rams might either trade him or just give him the money.
The cap is expected to drop which is tough for the Rams considering they have Jalen Ramsey and John Johnson to take care of as well. Once again, the Rams are facing some brutal stay or go choices and between Reynolds and Everett, it won’t be easy.