Rams release Chris Long, James Laurinaitis and Jared Cook

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The Rams will head to Los Angeles without three veteran members of the team.

The team announced Friday that they have released defensive end Chris Long, linebacker James Laurinaitis and tight end Jared Cook. Long was the second overall pick of the 2008 draft and Laurinaitis joined the team in the second round of the 2009 draft, so both had long runs with the team before getting their walking papers.

“This is the time of year when all NFL teams are faced with difficult decisions regarding their veteran players,” Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said in a statement. “Chris and James are the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league and it’s been an honor to coach them both. They’ve been the pillars of our defense for many years and not enough can be said of their love for the game and for their teammates. Beyond the field, they took pride in mentoring the younger players and doing their part to make a real difference in the St. Louis community. We will always be grateful for James and Chris’ unselfish commitment to the Rams and wish them the best moving forward.”

Long said last month that he was open to redoing his contract to stay with the Rams, but it’s not clear if there were any discussions on that front before the team decided to move in another direction. Long battled injuries the last two seasons and had just four sacks after recording 50.5 of them in his first six seasons, a drop in production that left him “not surprised” to learn the news on Friday.

Laurinaitis never missed a game in seven seasons with the team and leaves the Rams as the franchise leader in tackles.

Cook signed with the team as a free agent in 2013 and Fisher credited him with making “an immediate impact” upon joining the team. That impact included a franchise record for most receiving yards by a tight end during his first year with the club.

The three moves will create a lot of cap space for the Rams. Long was set to count $14.25 million against the cap and the team will get nearly $12 million back as a result of his departure. Dropping Cook and Laurinaitis clears another $11 million-plus for the team to put toward building the first group of players for their second stay in L.A.

102 responses to “Rams release Chris Long, James Laurinaitis and Jared Cook

  1. Jared Cook is a major under-achiever. So glad the Titans replaced him with Delanie Walker (our “other” good player).

    – Titans Fan

  2. I can’t believe Jeff Fisher is still there to make this announcement. They’ll never be a good team until they get rid of Captain Mediocrity.

  3. Can Chris Long be effective in a 3-4? If he can, he may be Chicago bound to join his brother.

  4. Seriously???? Cut their two best players and consumate pros from the past several years. The Rams can fall apart in LA for all I care.

  5. Chris Long and Laurinaitis have been solid professionals their whole careers. I have no clue what the NFLPA was thinking when they negotiated the CBA.

    Even if they can still produce teams are looking for younger guys for a fraction the cost.

  6. I can understand with the surplus of DL and an often injured Long with big Cap number wanting to move on from him, I can understand Jared Cook is a decent number 2 TE but the are asking number one production.

    I can’t believe cutting Laurinaitis is the best move for the Rams… he has been a solid player for several years… he should be able to catch on someplace else, with his size I would like to see th Packers consider taking a look at him if they are considering putting Matthews back on the outside. He deserves to play for a playoff team.

  7. Not surprised about Long as he was being paid way too much for his production and Cook is flat out terrible with brick hands and a lazy work ethic. Laurinaitis is the one that really shocks me. He is by no means an elite athlete but he is a great leader with great instincts that will give you 100+ tackles per year. This makes me think they are going to overpay Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson to stay with the team.

  8. Player holds out for more money, and he’s a selfish jerk who won’t honor his contract.

    Team cuts player mid-contract to save money, and, hey, football’s a business.

    Makes no sense.

  9. packerjansen12 says:
    Feb 19, 2016 3:00 PM
    Seriously???? Cut their two best players and consumate pros from the past several years. The Rams can fall apart in LA for all I care.

    they were not their two bet players.. lol.. good players but pass their good years..

  10. Every one of them will find a new team before April. Watch as the rams go 6-10. Keep Fisher forever please

  11. James, come provide some LB depth in New England, buddy. Someone’s got to fill Mayo’s spot.

  12. Aren’t their Cbs FA’s also? Maybe saving space for a run at them?

    but if they lose the cbs as well as long and roadwarrior animal’s son … rams just took a hit

  13. I didn’t think they would have enough money to bring back both Jenkins and Johnson. I guess they do now.

    Long tweeted that he “may never join the Rams in L.A.” so it sounds like is still open to the possibility.

  14. Just when I don’t think you can be any dumber than you are, you go ahead and……………completely redeem yourself.

    Obviously Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunn are running things in LA/St Louis. These guys will be out of work for about 30 seconds. Unless they retire and the way the NFL is going these days, who knows? This coupled will the Foles trade and signing solidifies this franchise as one of the worst in football. LA won’t help.

  15. As a die-hard Redskins homer, I have a lot of practice defending terrible ideas from the front office, but can anyone honestly say they view these moves as a good idea?

  16. PPL upset because they say they were the consummate pros.lol.so if i show up to wk on time do what the coaches tell me and am a team player but I’m not producing or always hurt then I should be paid million and never be cut? hahahaha

  17. majormalphunktion says:
    Feb 19, 2016 3:42 PM

    clearing space for a 1st round QB.

    You don’t need 23 mil of freed up cap space to get a 1st round QB you dolt.

  18. Laurinaitis is a Minnesota boy and would fill the void in the middle of the Vikings’ defense. Zimmer mentioned that he felt that Kendricks would suit the outside opposite Barr, so Laurinaitis would be great. The only issue with the Vikings signing him would be the unlikely need to sign him and Greenway together.

  19. Wow. Well you can throw away any chance the Rams ever had of acquiring Peyton. He’s not playing for a team that doesn’t have a good defense (if he plays in 2016)

  20. Cue the im coming home im coming home. James wont pass up a chance to play in minnesota with a great defensive minded coach in zimmer and above average defense. With holes at LB

  21. I am hoping Steve Spagnuolo established good relationships with Chris Long and James Laurinaitis when he was running the ship some years ago in St. Louis.

    Both linebacker and defensive end is a need for the New York Giants…maybe there’s hope to finally get a healthy linebacker that is a hard-nosed guy.

  22. Diehard Rams fan since 1977 here.

    Chris and James are very, very good dudes…. they make Ram’s fans proud. However, they are vastly overpaid. JLau should honestly consider coaching…. he has lost several steps and is a drag down tackler.

    Jared Cook was stealing money. He was a massive disappointment and underachiever in every way… including pushing his own QB with his own stone hands.

  23. Hopefully the three players who replace the players released are upgrades. With a QB and WRs, the Rams need to get a better passing attack. Otherwise teams are going to stack the box to stop Gurley. No body is afraid of Foles or Keenum.

  24. CL and JL still have good reps, I see. They’re both legit good guys who I’d sit with and have a beer anytime.

    But Long has four sacks in the last two years and arguably the team’s fifth best defensive lineman now. JL stays out every down but he was a below average player in 2015.

    We knew this was coming.

  25. AS a Rams fan its the end of a bad era of football. Long and JL were great teammates and great leaders in the locker room and on the field. But played on some horrid teams. I am sure they will not be on the market long. But their play fell off like 3 years ago.

    But why isn’t Fisher leaving with them? Because as a Rams fan you just gotta just love his 7-9 8-8 seasons year after year. Fisher is finally on the hot seat.

  26. “As a die-hard Redskins homer, I have a lot of practice defending terrible ideas from the front office, but can anyone honestly say they view these moves as a good idea?”

    These moves are excellent moves!!! Long was no longer starting, JL has no range or bang, and Cook was underutilized and overpaid (They all were overpaid) The Rams will use the money to retain a good number of their free agents…The vast majority of Ram fans love the moves, it’s the fans of other teams that’s crying over them.

  27. Titans should look at Long to mentor Bosa.

    Browns should grab Laurinaitis.

    Rams should sign Greg Hardy, a real leader.

  28. Fischer was asked in his interview in St Louis about his tenure moving the Houston franchise to Tennessee.

    That’s why he’s coaching the Rams..as soon as they have a solid base in L-A, including offices and a practice facility, his value to the franchise will be gone in a year or two.

    Lauranitis and Long still have maybe a year or two left in the tank…Cook was a bust in St. Louis.

    But damn, that clears a ton of cap space—for what? Who knows?

  29. packerjansen12 says:
    Feb 19, 2016 3:00 PM
    Seriously???? Cut their two best players and consumate pros from the past several years. The Rams can fall apart in LA for all I care.________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Guess you have never heard of Aaron Donald or Robert Quinn?

  30. codythao35 says:
    Injury prone and not enough contributions on the field. Long can take pay cut to play with Vikings for Super Bowl trophy.
    …and never win one, like every Viking player ever.

  31. Do these guys automatically become free agents where they are free to sign with any team, or do they go to waivers where certain teams get first look? If these guys are free agents, this would have to be very exciting news for them. The Rams are headed in the wrong direction.

  32. Cap hits are one thing but they didn’t even try to rework these guys contracts.

    And then add in that teams try to keep good players.

    While probably still serviceable in supporting roles the Rams are straight up saying that neither Long or JL are game changing type players any more.

  33. Rams defense was pretty solid last year, I think Laurinaitis has some gas left in his tank…not real old drafted in 09, tons of tackles, and never missed a game ? I’ll take him.

    Long is a little older but more concerning are lots of down time with injuries. Is he the next Jared Allen – aging pass rush specialist ?

    Jared Cook …I’d be happy to see him sign with someone else’s team. Not quite a coach killer, but close. Makes a few nice catches and then there’s those not so nice drops. Kind of like the way I play golf with infrequent nice shots that keep me coming back, but those rules don’t apply to team sports. You’re out, Jared.

  34. Really surprised at the James Laurinaitis release. Jared Cook was just an awful contract based on production and Chris Long, like he said, has been sh-t the last two years.

  35. Of all those names Laurinatas surprises me the most. That guy has been healthy, consistent, and good whenever I see the Rams okay okay, which is often as a Seahawks fan and he’s one of the reasons they’ve matched up so well against us in recent years so I can’t say I’m sad to see him go but very surprised.

    I really don’t see how letting go a veteran leader in your team who’s hardly ever been hurt and has always played at an above average level makes your team better. Perhaps there was an undisclosed injury this season that the Rams weren’t comfortable moving forward with.

  36. packerjansen12 says:
    Feb 19, 2016 3:00 PM
    Seriously???? Cut their two best players and consumate pros from the past several years. The Rams can fall apart in LA for all I care.

    Sure, as long as this is 2011. Otherwise none of them were even the best player at their positions any more. Simple fact of the matter is that they were highly paid and not producing up to that level. And this was the year it would not cost much against the cap.

  37. As a Packer fan, I would really like Ted Thomson to be shaken from his slumber and go get Jared Cook. Can’t be a terribly expensive guy to sign I wouldn’t think.

    He won’t though. And that’s probably why he’s a GM and I’m the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation. 😀

  38. Yet Jeff Fisher remains. Must suck to be a Rams fan. Twenty two years as a head coach and three division titles,yet he cuts players who he feels have underperformed. I’m sure these players were what was holding Fisher back,the wins will come in bunches now.

  39. These were easy calls. Pricey players–too pricey for a team who’s always finished by the time the Rams reach their yearly 3-7 or 4-10 record. Rams can be their yearly underachievers with much less expensive players.

  40. Its a blessing in disguise for those guys. First, they are free of fischer and the rams franchise. Second, wherever they go next with the exception of a few teams they should be able to avoid those ridiculous california taxes. In time they will realize their good fortune.

  41. I’m shocked by this. I thought the Seahawks were the ones with cap problems, but the Rams just cut half their team.

    Maybe the Seahawks actually manage their cap better than anyone.

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