Just like the offensive line, the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive line took its fair share of hits during the 2022 season.
The Rams lost Aaron Donald for the stretch run after he suffered a high ankle sprain, severely neutering their pass rush and run defense. They also lost A’Shawn Robinson for the season after suffered a torn meniscus, another blow up front.
Aside from Donald and Robinson, the rest of the defensive line played through various injuries. The most notable one was Leonard Floyd, who started the year off slow due to a hyperextension in his knee, though he eventually picked up his usual production in the second half of the season. Greg Gaines was another under-the-radar player playing hurt as he gutted through a bicep injury.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Gaines underwent a procedure to fix his bicep and is not expected to miss any time in the offseason:
Rams’ DT Greg Gaines recently completed a labral and bicep tendon repair with Dr. Neal Elattrache. He suffered the injury in training camp and played with it this season. It’s a two-month recovery, so the 26-year old is not expected to have any limitations this off-season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 20, 2023
It’s good news to hear that Gaines is not expected to miss any time, though the Rams have a decision to make on the defensive tackle as he is set to hit free agency. Gaines was originally a fourth-round pick and has improved every year in Los Angeles, becoming a key piece up front the past two seasons.
The defensive tackle has been durable for the first part of his career, appearing in 16, 17 and 16 games the past three seasons. Gaines enjoyed his best season in 2021 where he recorded 4.5 sacks, 55 tackles (4 for loss) and 13 quarterback hits. Those numbers dipped across the board in 2022 where he managed 4.0 sacks, 36 tackles (6 for loss), and 6 quarterback hits. While he managed to play through the biceps injury, it’s clear he was hampered each week.
With the Rams strapped for cap space, they will likely need to choose between Gaines or Robinson to bring along for the 2023 campaign. Alternatively, L.A. could decide to part ways with both players to save money, though that seems unwise considering how much turnover the roster is expected to go through in the offseason.
Plenty of changes are coming to the Rams and it’ll be interesting to see how they navigate an offseason full of decisions and questions.