LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Rams are in a peculiar position going into the upcoming season. ProFootballTalk’s most recent NFL Power Rankings have the Rams ranked at 23 due to the departure of stars like Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks. I predicted that the Rams will finish the upcoming season with a 7-9 record, based on their current roster and schedule. Although the season is right around the corner, there are potential roster moves they could make prior to the mid-season trade deadline to improve their chances of competing for a playoff berth.
The Rams have a few issues that limit their ability to improve their roster, such as minimum cap space and some overvalued contracts. Regardless, the Rams need to find a way to improve their offensive firepower and defensive front if they want a chance to compete within the challenging NFC West. I have identified a few roster moves that could potentially put them in a better position to contend.
Josh Gordon, WR
The Rams desperately need a deep threat in their offense after the departure of Brandin Cooks. Josh Gordon is the most dynamic free agent wideout available, other than Antonio Brown. While both players have had their fair share of off-the-field issues, Gordon has shown remorse and a willingness to seek help with his issues, unlike Antonio Brown.
Of the two wildcards, Gordon is easily the safest choice and would give the Rams exactly what they need in a legitimate deep threat. Additionally, the Rams would likely be able to sign Gordon at a discount, due to the uncertainty surrounding his behavior. The move would be risky, but I think Gordon’s talent makes it a risk worth taking. At best, Gordon would completely open up the offense by taking the top off the defense and utilizing his big play ability; at worst, he has another slip up, and the Rams would ultimately cut him without the fear of taking a major cap hit. In my opinion, the potential reward outweighs the potential risk.
Dre Greenlaw, LB
Dre Greenlaw’s popularity skyrocketed during the 2019 NFL Playoffs, where he emerged as a promising young linebacker who played a legitimate role in getting the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl LIV. At 6’0 and 230 pounds, Greenlaw is a bit undersized for an interior linebacker; however, whatever he lacks in size, he makes up for with great athleticism and keen instincts.
The Rams are in desperate need of an ILB, due to the departure of Cory Littleton in free agency. Greenlaw would immediately be the best linebacker on the team and would give the Rams drastic improvement on their defense. Since he is currently a member of the 49ers, the Rams would need to formulate a trade package for him.
Gerald Everett is a great trade asset on the Rams roster. While Everett is a promising young tight end, he has the misfortune of sitting behind Tyler Higbee on the depth chart, another promising young TE. Higbee was just signed to a long-term extension, so it’s possible that Everett is expendable. If the Rams could formulate a trade that includes Everett and one or two Day 3 draft picks, I think they would be able to acquire Greenlaw and possibly another player with a small contract. It’s all hypothetical, but I would love to see the Rams make a move for Greenlaw.
Ryan Succop, K
Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein was one of the most valuable players on the Rams’ roster for his eight seasons in St. Louis/Los Angeles. After a down year in 2019, the Rams did not resign Zuerlein, and he later signed with the Dallas Cowboys. To put it plainly, the Rams need to find a replacement for Zuerlein. They drafted Sam Sloman in the 7th round of the NFL Draft, but it’s completely uncertain if he’ll become a solid NFL placekicker. They also signed two undrafted kickers for insurance, but I highly doubt either player makes the final roster.
Ryan Succop is a proven veteran and has been a starting kicker for 11 years. He caught the injury bug last season, which drastically dropped his production and ultimately led to him being released by the Tennessee Titans. Rather than throwing Sloman into the fire as a rookie, the Rams could improve their chances to win games by signing a veteran kicker like Succop.
Additionally, signing Succop would give Sloman the opportunity to learn from a seasoned veteran before being called into action. Every point matters in the NFL, and Ryan Succop would maximize the amount of points the Rams can score in any given game.
Josh Rosen, QB
After being drafted #10 overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2018 NFL Draft, Josh Rosen has had an interesting NFL journey so far. The Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray with the #1 overall pick the following year, and Rosen was ultimately traded to the Miami Dolphins after a disappointing rookie year.
The Dolphins had high hopes for Rosen going into the 2019 season, but he lost the starting quarterback position to a 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick. Miami drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the #3 overall pick in this year’s draft, presumptively moving Fitzpatrick to the backup QB role, with Rosen sitting at #3 on the depth chart. The Dolphins have clearly moved on from Rosen, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s traded to his third team.
The Rams are in desperate need of a backup QB, as the only QBs on the roster, other than Jared Goff, are undrafted rookies Josh Love and Bryce Perkins. If anything were to happen to Goff, the Rams would be in some serious trouble with their current roster. Adding Rosen would give them much-needed security under center if Goff were to ever miss time.
Additionally, Jared Goff saw a slip in production this past season after signing a $134 million extension prior to the regular season. Rosen has the talent and potential to take over as the starter if Goff were to struggle heavily this season, even though it’s highly unlikely. However, Rosen’s potential alone would hopefully be enough to push Goff to perform at his best. The Rams would have to give up something valuable to be able to construct a trade deal, but I think adding a player like Rosen would be well worth it.
Lamar Miller, RB
The Rams don’t necessarily have a need at RB, with rookie Cam Akers, veteran Malcolm Brown, and Darrell Henderson rounding out the backfield. However, Lamar Miller would be a substantial upgrade as a proven starter in the NFL. After seven productive years for both the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans, Miller tragically tore his ACL in the third preseason game of this past season, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.
Miller became a free agent in the off-season, and the Texans have decided to move on and pursue other options. This leaves the door open for the Rams or any other team to acquire one of the better veteran RBs in the NFL. In order to make it work, the Rams would have to free up some room in the offensive backfield, but, other than Cam Akers, every RB on the roster is completely expendable.
Miller would be a legitimate threat to opposing defenses, due to his ability to contribute to both the running game and the passing game. Also, rather than burdening a rookie with the bulk of the workload, Miller would allow the Rams to split the workload between him and Akers, giving them a threatening 1-2 punch in the offensive backfield.
— Lamar Miller (@millertime_6) June 25, 2020
Miller has tweeted videos of himself doing various workouts, attempting to show that he is fully healed from his injury. Even so, there’s always the possibility that he never returns to form, which makes signing him a huge gamble; however, the injury concerns will likely allow the Rams to sign him for cheap. If a reasonable deal can be negotiated, I think it’s worth taking a gamble on Miller.