It’s finally upon us, the beginning of the 2021 NFL league year.
The year officially begins on Wednesday, March 14, at 4 pm ET. It’s when teams finally make all their announced signings, extensions, and trades official.
Despite trading for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Rams still have some work to do on offense. The Rams’ defense, led by Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, was the best in the league last season. But the offense dragged the team down. Stafford should fix a lot of the inconsistency, but there is always room for improvement.
However, before the Rams can think about any additions, they need to free up some cap space. As with the defense, the Rams can free up cap space by restructuring a few of their biggest contracts. On offense, the Rams will need to restructure Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods contracts. If the Rams can partially restructure Jalen Ramsey, Kupp, and Woods’s contracts, they can potentially save $30.4 million in the cap. Sadly, most of it will go to getting under the $182.5 million salary cap.
Another move the Rams need to make to free up some cap space is restructure or extend Stafford. Restructuring the deal makes the most sense. According to The Athletic, there is automatic conversion language in his contract.
Compared to other contracts, teams usually need to ask for permission to restructure a player’s contracts. With an automatic conversion, teams can go ahead and do it without permission. The Rams could also extend Stafford and move parts of his remaining contract to his new contract.
The Rams could target other players to restructure their contracts. However, Kupp, Woods, and Stafford are the ones to watch on offense.
Once the Ram can free up some cap space, the Rams can start making moves to improve the offense.
One of the major needs on offense is a consistent deep threat. Stafford is known for his deep ball, and the Rams and the Rams have some good deep ball threats all over the receiver core.
The versatility of the Rams receivers keeps opposing defensive back on their toes. However, getting a short route runner could get Woods and Kupp in the deep role more often. They need a Dez Bryant or a Michael Thomas-like receiver for this to work. Basically, look at any receiver who excels at the slant route.
However, there are plenty of deep threat receivers on the market. The Rams could add Nelson Agholor, Marvin Jones, or Breshad Perriman.
Adding Jones would be a great pick-up for Stafford. Their history together would get Stafford’s deep ball in the Rams offense faster. The hardest part of the deep ball is finding that receiver you’re just in sync with, and removing the barrier of a new receiver to throw would mean he can add the deep ball to the offensive game plan faster.
Even Tom Brady struggled in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints. Many of his interceptions and misses were due to him forming those relationships with a new receiver.
Agholor might not be a headline-grabbing name. However, he doesn’t need to be the Rams offense’s headline, which makes him the perfect addition. He had a down year in 2019 with the Philadelphia Eagles but blossomed into a serious threat with the Las Vegas Raiders.
He went from averaging a career-low 9.3 yards per reception in 2019 to a career-high 18.7 yards per reception in 2020. He also earned a career-high 896 receiving yards in 2020. As a free agent, he’ll also be a cheaper option with his market value just under $10 million a year.
Perriman might have dropped off from his career-high 21.3 yards per reception in 2018; however, he still hasn’t dipped under 15 yards per reception since then. He’s jumped around the league throughout his career and has never been a cornerstone of a receiving core.
He’s not going to take over the number three spot regardless if Josh Reynolds stays. However, a serious threat like Penning will be a great addition to Sean McVay’s arsenal.
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