The Rams spent the last couple years making win-now moves, trading first-round draft picks and paying players expensive contracts. This is the year the bill comes due.
Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff says the team understood all along that the 2020 offseason would be a year in which they’d have to say goodbye to some key players.
“Each year, your players change, your team changes and we knew walking into this season there would be tough choices,” Demoff told ESPN. “It’s going to be a different-looking team than the one that left the field in 2019, but I think everybody knew that was going to be the case.”
Among the departures this offseason were Todd Gurley, Clay Matthews and Nickell Robey-Coleman, all of whom were released to save cap space, as well as Dante Fowler, Cory Littleton and Greg Zuerlein, who left in free agency to sign with teams that had more money to offer. Also gone is Eric Weddle, who retired.
The best way to replace departing veterans is the draft, but the Rams are short on draft capital. They’ve traded away this year’s first-round pick and fifth-round pick, and they’ve already traded away next year’s first-round pick, fourth-round pick and fifth-round pick. They also traded away their first-round picks in 2017, 2018 and 2019, so they haven’t had an influx of high-end young talent.
Still, Demoff says anyone who thinks the Rams’ roster won’t be competitive in 2020 is underestimating what General Manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay can do.
“It’s always interesting how we are only a few days into the new league year and people think this is the team that you are going to field come September,” Demoff said. “Not only do we have the draft and the rest of the offseason, I think Les and Sean have always proven they’ll be aggressive fillings holes through trades and other avenues, and this is just the start of what the 2020 Rams will look like.”
This year’s Rams will look a lot different than the team that was in the Super Bowl 13 months ago.