Free agency has finally slowed to a crawl as teams gear up for the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, but that doesn’t mean that moves are finished.
For the Los Angeles Rams, it looks like they’re waiting to see if any quality players will come to them on a discount. The Rams spent most of the offseason trying to clear cap space and they did so albeit at a great cost. Gone are key contributors like Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd and Jalen Ramsey and no direct replacements for them to be found just quite yet.
Los Angeles seems to be banking on internal development, especially in the secondary from second-year players like DeCobie Durant and Derion Kendrick. The Rams have eschewed re-signing defensive backs and instead using draft picks to replenish depth and talent.
That team-building strategy was at the forefront again as they’ve let another member walk in free agency. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Taylor Rapp is leaving Los Angeles to join the Buffalo Bills:
Free-agent safety Taylor Rapp, the Rams’ 2019 second-round pick who visited New England during free agency, is signing a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 27, 2023
This is the second free agent that the Bills have scooped from the Rams, with the first being offensive lineman David Edwards. Rapp, a former second-round pick of Los Angeles, was a starter for the majority of his time with the Rams and played a part in their win in Super Bowl LVI.
Now with Buffalo, Rapp figures to come off the bench as his new team also brought back Jordan Poyer on a new two-year deal. Between Poyer and Micah Hyde, the Bills look set with their starting safeties, though there could be some packages that include Rapp playing alongside those two.
For the Rams, this provides an opportunity for Quentin Lake and Russ Yeast to step up and move into starting roles. With no one behind them, Los Angeles will likely use a couple of their picks in the draft to address their safety depth.
The 2023 season is looking more and more like a rebuilding year for Los Angeles as it’s hard to project them winning many games with such a young and inexperienced defense. Perhaps their offense gets back to its normal production levels under Sean McVay, but even the most optimistic fans have to feel a little wary about their short-term prospects.