Changes Come in Rams First Week of Free Agency
- Updated: March 17, 2017
The Rams first week of free agency saw a flurry of activity. Gone are the likes of Lance Kendricks, Tim Barnes, Eugene Sims, and William Hayes. Incomes Andrew Whitworth to take over at left tackle and Robert Woods to catch passes from Jared Goff. In comes Kayvon Webster to help shut down Larry Fitzgerald, Tyler Lockett, and Pierre Garcon in the NFC West. By Sunday, Ryan Groy will join the Rams as their new pivot man on the offensive line, if the Bills do not match. As of this writing, Lance Dunbar is inking a deal to become Todd Gurley’s primary backup. Connor Barwin is in town. If signed, he will bring experience under Wade Phillips to the edge position. Change is not only imminent, it is at hand.
When you take over arguably the most under-performing squad in the league, turbulence is necessary. Sean McVay and company are churning it up good.
So where does the roster stand now, one week into free agency and a mere 6 weeks before the draft?
Hard to tell.
A quick overview of the roster tells us that the very top spot on every depth chart, the position of QB, remains enigmatic. It is no mystery who the QB will be; Jared Goff enters his 2nd season as the incumbent starter. But is Goff ready? His first season was clouded by the oft-agonizing patience of Jeff Fisher, who kept his rookie QB on the bench. When he did suit up to lead the Rams, his return on investment was decidedly lackluster. He is talented, but raw; the verdict is still out. Behind him, Sean Mannion. If Goff does not blossom, in other words, there is no proven help. To desecrate the most sacred of Rams lore, the hopeful return of the Greatest Show on Turf is flying without a net. To be fair, it flew without a net then, too, and struck lightning in a bottle.
On paper, the roster is coming together fine. Another receiver and pass-catching tight end will be necessary. A true safety or two might be in the cards. Depth is needed throughout the defensive front seven. The patchworked and reshuffled offensive line will have to gel. The youngest HC in NFL history will have to coach, and coach well, against Pete Carroll, Bruce Arians, and (now) Kyle Shanahan. The football gods will have to smile favorably on a team that hasn’t seen the postseason in a dozen years.
Five years ago, Jeff Fisher inherited arguably the most under-performing squad in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams. The Rams immediately cut a bevy of veterans to save space. They quickly signed CB Cortland Finnegan, C Scott Wells, and DE Kendall Langford to big deals. In the draft, the Rams added DT Michael Brockers, CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Trumaine Johnson, and K Greg Zuerlien. Sam Bradford was entering his third season as a QB in the NFL, ready to prove his worth. When a team fails consistently, as the Rams have failed for 12 consecutive seasons, the process of hire, purge, shuffle, and add becomes urgent. The timer starts immediately. The coach is on the clock.
The Rams first week of free agency is over. Gone are the remnants of a failed administration. In comes the hope for a brighter future. Sean McVay brings youthful exuberance, a keen offensive mind, and obligatory change. The collective city of Los Angeles, so freshly disappointed after the inceptive return of the Rams, bates its breath. This could be change like so many others, a churning of the roster that ultimately settles into unsatisfying calm waters. Or this could be lightning in a bottle.
It could be. It has been.
The change has come.
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