Few teams entered this offseason in worse salary-cap space than the Los Angeles Rams, and that problem already has cost them former All-Pro running back Todd Gurley. Here’s an overview of the Los Angeles Rams and their NFL Odds as it stands.
Los Angeles Rams NFL Odds After Free Agency Week 1
The Rams of course were NFC champions in the 2018 season but lost 13-3 to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. L.A. was still in playoff contention last year in Week 16 when it visited San Francisco with an 8-7 record, but the Rams lost 34-31 and that was that. Jimmy Garoppolo converting a pair of conversions on third-and-16 to set up Robbie Gould’s game-winning 33-yard field goal with no time left to eliminate the Rams from playoff contention.
The team would finish a respectable 9-7 by beating Arizona 31-24 in the final NFL game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Although the Coliseum isn’t going anywhere, the Rams are heading south to palatial SoFi Stadium in Inglewood this season. Since the Rams first arrived from Cleveland in 1946, the Coliseum has hosted three NFL championship games, two Super Bowls and 23 Pro Bowls, along with the Rams and Raiders.
Los Angeles Rams offseason moves
By far the most shocking move was the Rams cutting lose 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley, the team’s star tailback. The Rams had good intentions when they signed Gurley in 2018 to the richest running back contract in league history — a four-year, $60 million extension that included $45 million in guarantees. At the time of the extension, Gurley had two seasons remaining on his rookie contract.
However, that contract became an albatross as Gurley regressed big time in 2019 and has bad knees. Gurley averaged 3.8 yards per carry last season, and didn’t produce a single play longer than 25 yards. Gurley has scored 70 touchdowns in his first five NFL seasons, which is tied with Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice for fourth among all players after five seasons.
L.A. tried to trade Gurley but something is clearly not right with Gurley’s knee, and without the ability to give him a full medical on short notice in light of the coronavirus outbreak, teams weren’t going to run the risk of assuming significant guarantees. The Rams released Gurley with a post-June 1 designation. That means the Rams will spread the dead-money cap charges ($11.75 million) over two seasons. The team will also see $5.5 million in cap savings that becomes available on June 2.
Los Angeles also dumped linebacker Clay Matthews to save money. Matthews played 13 games last season and had eight sacks, his most since 2014. He was sidelined for three games after suffering a broken jaw in Week 5 against the Seahawks. The Rams saved nearly $4 million in cap space by cutting him.
There’s talk the Rams aren’t done as they are shopping high-paid receiver Brandin Cooks. He averaged five-year lows in yards per game (41.6) and yards per target (8.1) in 2019, although Jared Goff’s regression and the offensive line’s issues in pass protection didn’t help. Cooks’ concussion history could be an issue, but he’s managed to play in 88-of-96 regular season games since entering the league in 2014.
The Rams did add two defensive linemen in Leonard Floyd and A’Shawn Robinson. Robinson never really realized his potential in Detroit with just five career sacks. He should be the first man up to replace Michael Brockers next to Aaron Donald. Floyd had just three sacks last year with Chicago. The 28-year-old is also already familiar with new Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley’s scheme from their time together with the Bears the past two seasons.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth was re-signed. The 38-year-old blindside protector has contemplated retirement the past several seasons but returned to provide stability to the Rams O-line. The veteran has solidified the Rams left side the past three seasons after spending his first 11 years with the Cincinnati Bengals. While Whitworth’s play dipped slightly at points last season, he remains a stalwart pass blocker, giving up just one sack in 2019.
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- Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins.