Rams News: Rebuilding In the Cards for 2023-24 Season
Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Rams
Dec 4, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) and wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) on the field prior a game against the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The timeline encompassing the Rams’ return to Super Bowl contention has been extensively documented. The team has been involved in numerous blockbuster trades to acquire superstar talents from other groups, often giving up their top draft picks as part of these deals.

After their 23-20 victory in Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Rams were initially considered strong contenders for the following season’s Vince Lombardi trophy. However, they faced significant setbacks to their roster and quickly fell to the bottom of the NFC standings. Furthermore, they did not possess a first-round pick in the recent 2023 NFL Draft.

As a result of such a tumultuous season, there has been speculation among fans and the media about whether the former Super Bowl champions should consider moving on from their current roster and undergo a rebuilding process to build for the future.

2023-24 Expectations

According to the latest NFL lines from the BetUS sportsbook, the LA Rams are ranked at +550 to win their division, +2800 to win the NFC, and +6000 to win the Super Bowl in the upcoming season. These odds reflect the challenging situation that the team faces heading into the NFL regular season.

Rams fans should not have overly high expectations for a Super Bowl appearance in the new campaign. The team is confronted with great adversity within their division, as the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have emerged as the two strongest teams in the NFC West. The division has become top-heavy, making success a formidable challenge for the Rams.

Despite these obstacles, there is a growing likelihood that the Rams will improve upon their performances from last season. The return of starting quarterback Matthew Stafford and All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp from long-term injuries, combined with the dominant play of defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the effective offensive strategies of Head Coach Sean McVay, provide optimism.

While these individuals have contributed to the team’s success in the past, it is still uncertain whether the Rams will secure a playoff spot in the NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks demonstrated impressive performances in the postseason last year and have bolstered their talented rosters, an advantage the Rams cannot currently match.

Rebuilding Considerations

One possible scenario for the Rams, who may now be uncertain, is to trade away their star assets in exchange for a collection of draft picks. This would enable the team to rebuild their roster with an eye toward future contention.

Although the Rams will likely finish ahead of the Arizona Cardinals in this year’s NFC West rankings, their success remains heavily dependent on the health of Stafford and Kupp. The team’s chances of returning to postseason contention are significantly diminished without their key players staying injury-free.

Suppose the Rams were to trade away their star players. In that case, it is expected that they would aim to rebuild their roster by incorporating younger prospects they have acquired or role players who could improve their chances of securing higher picks in upcoming draft classes. Since the Rams did not possess a first-round pick in the 2023 draft, having traded it to the Detroit Lions as part of the Matthew Stafford trade, a full rebuild could help them regain potentially lost picks and enhance their talent pool in the coming years.

Offseason Moves

During the offseason, the Rams’ front office made several notable moves. They released players such as outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and former Super Bowl champion linebacker Bobby Wagner. Additionally, they traded former All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins in a trade that was considered one-sided, with the Rams receiving a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long in return. Wide receiver Allen Robinson, a former Pro Bowler, was also traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for the 234th pick. The team also experienced several departures in free agency.

On the other hand, the Rams welcomed new additions during the offseason, including free agents outside linebacker Michael Hoecht, linebacker Christian Rozeboom, and cornerback Shaun Jolly. They also signed offensive lineman Coleman Shelton to a two-year deal and defensive lineman Marquise Copeland to a one-year contract.

Regardless of the path the Rams choose to take in their pursuit of reclaiming contender status for a Super Bowl title in the 2023-24 season, they still possess plenty of talent to build around. Additionally, being based in a major market allows them to attract superstar talents across the league.