ORLANDO, Fla. — Odell Beckham Jr. to the Rams?
Positive, it’s an extended shot. However contemplating all of the gonzo roster strikes made by Los Angeles since 2016, the likelihood of the gifted however temperamental Giants broad receiver heading to SoCal cannot be dismissed.
In any case, no one presently two years in the past might have predicted the Rams would full one of the boldest maneuvers in NFL Draft historical past and leap from No. 15 to the highest general decide for quarterback Jared Goff. Likewise, no one might predict the trades this offseason that landed elite cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib whereas additionally sending two gamers thought-about cornerstones of the LA protection not way back — linebacker Alec Ogletree (Giants) and edge rusher Robert Quinn (Dolphins) — to totally different locales.
After which there’s the newest daring stroke: including Ndamukong Suh in free company to a defensive position that already options Aaron Donald, the NFL’s reigning Defensive Participant of the Yr, and one other standout in Michael Brockers.
All of this sounds just like the machinations of somebody utilizing the Final Staff function on “Madden NFL 18.” Nevertheless it’s not a online game. It is actual life because of some outdoors-the-field considering of the Rams’ mind belief.
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“We began with a vision this offseason — getting our protection higher,” Rams common supervisor Les Snead informed co-host Mark Dominik and me Tuesday on Sirius XM NFL Radio on the NFL’s annual assembly. “Regardless that final yr was fulfilling once we gained eleven video games and the (NFC West), we nonetheless misplaced within the playoffs.
“We knew that we did not need to simply sit nonetheless and relaxation on our laurels. We needed to do what we might the place we thought we would have liked so as to add to get higher. That is what we have been doing.”
The Suh acquisition epitomizes that.
Snead admitted he wasn’t positive whether or not the Rams would even be financially aggressive within the bidding for Suh, who was launched by the Dolphins simply earlier than the beginning of the free-agent signing interval. Los Angeles, although, provided one thing different critical suitors — the Saints, Titans and Raiders — couldn’t: the prospect to play alongside one other defensive deal with who would truly command extra double-groups than Suh at this level in his 9-yr NFL profession.
Though having by no means performed in a three-four system just like the one deployed by Rams coordinator Wade Phillips, Suh agreed to the plan that may have him at nostril deal with in base packages. The one-yr, $14 million wage tendered by LA sealed the deal Monday, giving the Rams their scariest defensive entrance because the Fearsome Foursome’s heyday within the Nineteen Sixties.
“We struggled to cease the run up the center,” stated Snead, referring to the Rams’ twenty eighth-ranked run protection (122.three yards) in 2017. “Suh is a big, robust physique. We really feel like we will use him to enhance us there and clearly in passing conditions getting the matchup with anyone having to cope with each Grades
Getting the deal accomplished wasn’t made in a vacuum, both. LA was conscious of the sensitivities in paying Suh whereas on the similar time making an attempt to barter an extended-time period extension with Donald, who missed all of the 2017 preseason in a holdout and will do the identical this yr if pressured to play out the ultimate yr of his rookie contract.
“Earlier than we did all this, we sat down with Aaron and let him know,” Snead stated. “He is nicely conscious we will work to get one thing achieved this spring. However we (stated), ‘Oh, by the best way, we have got the prospect to accumulate Ndamukong. He would truly receives a commission earlier than you do. Are you good?’
“Aaron is the sort of man who (believes), ‘If he helps us and he will get higher, let’s do it. My time will come right here quickly.'”
When that day lastly arrives, Donald will grow to be the NFL’s highest-paid defensive participant. Meaning the Rams have to chop corners in different areas and discover much less-pricey options. Parting methods with excessive-priced veterans like Ogletree — who simply acquired an $eight million signing bonus final October as half of a 4-yr contract extension — and Quinn is an instance. Snead stated their departure has left the Rams nonetheless in search of replacements with the draft approaching.
Different prime-tier younger skills like Peters, Goff and operating again Todd Gurley additionally might be angling for big-cash offers as their rookie contracts transfer nearer to expiration. The identical goes for security LaMarcus Joyner, who was designated because the staff’s 2018 franchise participant. And it might apply to Beckham, who will not apply for the Giants till he receives a contract extension, per NFL Community.
As historical past has proven, not each one of Snead’s personnel strikes has paid dividends. Extending the contract of broad receiver Tavon Austin in 2016 has confirmed an enormous mistake. Snead additionally was not capable of re-signal Sammy Watkins after sending a second-spherical decide to the Payments through the 2017 season for the vast receiver’s providers. That also stings despite the fact that Watkins’ departure to the Chiefs shall be mitigated by LA receiving a 3rd-spherical compensatory decide within the 2019 NFL Draft.
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We’ll know by then if all these marquee names have moved the Rams nearer to their first Tremendous Bowl look because the 1999 season — and if Beckham is a component of the group.
However one factor already is sure: Snead’s unconventional roster constructing has put the Rams of their greatest place to compete for a Lombardi Trophy because the “Biggest Present on Turf” period. On the similar time, it has generated the excitement that was sorely missing when the franchise left St. Louis and returned to Southern California two years in the past.
Alex Marvez could be heard from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET Tuesday and seven p.m. to eleven p.m. ET Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.