For the first time under Sean McVay, the Los Angeles Rams experienced disappointment in the regular season. The Rams finished the season with a 9-7 record and will have quite a few decisions to make in the offseason.
Just a year ago, Los Angeles was still participating in the playoffs and were on their first Super Bowl since 2001. Of course, to the dismay of Rams fans, McVay’s high-flying offense was only able to produce a mere three points against the New England Patriots.
As for this season, the Rams now have more questions than answers at multiple areas of their roster. There has already been turnover in the coaching staff with the organization choosing to let Wade Phillips and John Fassel depart from the franchise.
Besides the coaching staff, there are players that Los Angeles will have to tend to. Given that, here are three major decisions that the Rams will have to make this offseason.
3. Cut Eric Weddle or keep him for another season
Before the 2019 season, the Rams chose to sign Eric Weddle to a two-year, $10.5 million contract following his release from the Baltimore Ravens. While he continued to be a formidable leader, Weddle began to show his age on the field.
The veteran safety was able to tally 108 tackles, but for the second straight season, he failed to force a turnover. In addition, the Rams already have his replacement in Taylor Rapp—who they drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Rams are heading into the upcoming offseason with only $23.7 million of cap space per Spotrac. By releasing Weddle in the offseason, they would incur a $500,000 dead-cap bill. At the same time, they would create an extra $4.25 million in cap space by releasing him.
2. Is it time to move on from Brandin Cooks or Todd Gurley?
Since McVay became the head coach in 2017, the Rams have handed out lucrative extensions like they are regular pieces of paper. Los Angeles has a hefty amount of money locked into Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Aaron Donald, etc.
By paying a slew of players in the past couple of seasons, the Rams are stuck in a situation where they have to clear some cap space to improve the roster. Therefore, the front office is likely going to have to consider trading one of the players they extended recently.
Among them, Cooks and Gurley make the most sense as tradeable pieces due to the uncertainty surrounding their futures. After both had disappointing campaigns in 2019, Los Angeles might have to add a draft pick to move either Cooks or Gurley via trade.
1. Re-sign Cory Littleton or Dante Fowler?
Last offseason, the Rams chose to sign Dante Fowler to a one-year, $12 million contract that was essentially a prove-it deal. The former first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars responded by having the best season of his career in 2019.
Fowler accumulated a career-high 11.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. On the other hand, Cory Littleton led the team in tackles for the second-straight season and proved he is one of the most versatile inside linebackers in the NFL.
Unfortunately for the Rams, both Fowler and Littleton are set to become free agents in 2020 and they are strapped with cap space. In a fictional world, Los Angeles could re-sign both to long-term extensions. But in reality, the front office will probably have to decide which one is more important to the team moving forward.