(News4usonline) – The NFL free agency has blown open the window of a team standing pat. For the Los Angeles Rams, the organization is not waiting around to see if their competitors are getting better.
That’s because they are. So, as the Super Bowl LVI champions, the Rams are making offseason moves to make sure they stay on top of the NFL heap when it comes to title-contending teams.
As they so vocally aired out during their celebratory championship parade, the Rams want to run it back. This means after getting a taste of what winning a Super Bowl feels like, the Rams want another championship ring. It won’t be an easy journey.
After looking at what has happened thus far through the first week of free agency, winning the title just got a whole lot tougher, especially in the AFC. In what was the Wild, Wild NFC West, the Rams are still head and shoulders above everyone.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re standing around, twiddling their thumbs and waiting for another championship to drop in their laps. Quite the contrary. Part of the free agency process is that players are going to come and go. Even key players.
The Rams have already experienced this with edge rusher Von Miller ( Buffalo Bills), Darious Williams (Jacksonville Jaguars), Sebastian Joseph-Day (Los Angeles Chargers), and others cashing in on their championship pedigree and moving on to other teams.
The first order of business for the Rams going into this offseason was to get quarterback Matthew Stafford under contract for the duration of his career. The second order is to get Aaron Donald under contract as well. The Rams achieved their first goal, locking up Stafford with a four-year extension.
In leading the Rams to the title, Stafford passed for 4,886 yards 41 touchdowns during the regular season. He was just as spectacular in his play during the postseason, completing 70 percent of his passes for 1,188 yards and nine touchdowns. As great as he played, Stafford said during a video conference call with reporters that he still has room to get better.
“There’s plenty of stuff,” Stafford said. “Obviously, the thing that jumps out to you, first and foremost, in my opinion, is the turnover number. Just try to limit that as much as I can, while still trying to be really aggressive. I thought we did a great job of pushing the ball down the field, but there were times where maybe a better decision would help us win the game or make it a bigger margin for us. I’m always trying to do that. There’s a fine line there. There’s plenty of stuff within the offense that I can continue to grow and get better.”
Stafford added that the offseason will allow for him as well as the team to fine-tune some things.
“That’s the fun part about spring is you kind of look back at all this kind of stuff and try to really dive in and figure out where there’s little areas here or there where you can get better,” Stafford said. “The biggest thing is going to be mastering what we’re trying to do this next year because it’s going to be a little bit different, I’m sure than what we did last year. That’s what makes playing this game so much fun, playing this position so much fun…is the yearly challenge.”
ROB1NSON pic.twitter.com/vyMaIWnX7s— Los Angeles Rams (#RamsNFL) March 21, 2022
Besides securing the services of Stafford for the next four seasons, the Rams went into the offseason with question marks at the wide receiver spot. Odell Beckham Jr., who injured himself in the Rams’ 23-20 Super Bowl win against the Cincinnati, is a free agent. Robert Woods, a mainstay for the Rams for the last several years, was not able to finish 2021 because of a season-ending injury.
The Rams added some clarity to that situation, trading Woods to the Tennessee Titans and signing Allen Robinson II to a multi-year deal. After spending his last four years playing for the Chicago Bears, the eight-year veteran figure to be an excellent complement to Cooper Kupp.
In his eight years as a pro, Robinson has gone over the 1,000 yards receiving mark three times.
“To step into this group when this opportunity presented itself, you know, I knew that it was an opportunity for me that I couldn’t turn down across the board, seeing the kind of coach that coach [Sean] McVay is, seeing the culture that has been established, you know, from through ownership and management, talking to some guys,” Robinson said. “Even prior to free agency, it’s about how they liked it here, some of my former teammates who have been here. For me, it was everything across the board that as a veteran, you know, this is the kind of team that you want to step into, you know. A team that’s contending. Obviously, with them coming off a Super Bowl and being able to make another Super Bowl run, you know, that’s why I’m here.”
As great as the Stafford and Robinson signings are, the Rams will go nowhere without an offensive line that protected their starting quarterback last season as if they were security guards for Brinks. The Rams offensive line, led by the now-retired Andrew Whitworth, surrendered just 31 sacks in 17 games of the regular season.
Whitworth is gone, but the Rams still have center Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton and Joe Noteboom, all of whom agreed to terms to stay with the team.
After standing in the shadows of Whitworth for the past four seasons, It is now Noteboom’s opportunity to step in and be that guy to protect Stafford’s backside at left tackle. Noteboom said he is up for the challenge.
“To step into this role, I had a blueprint for four years,” Noteboom said. “I was watching his [Andrew Whitworth] every move, on and off the field. So, that’s what gives me confidence going into this position.”
Noteboom admitted that continuity played a huge part in him staying with the team instead of leaving.
“I would say it played the most in my decision…not really my decision but you know, my desire to come back here,” Noteboom said. “Just being with coach [Sean] McVay and all the other coaches in the organization and the players, you know, I felt like you can’t get much better than this. I just won a Super Bowl. The respect I have for coach McVay and [offensive line] coach [Kevin] Carberry, you know, thinking, ‘Why would I want to go restart somewhere else? These guys are the best of the best. And being here in L.A. and the fans and everything, kind of played a part in that.”
Featured Image Caption: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is off and running the football for a scramble. Stafford signed a four-year extension with the Rams to stay with the ballclub. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline