The Rams could look very different after Super Bowl LVI
Sun, February 13 2022, 11:30 PM
Win or lose, however, the Rams could look much different in 2022, as many of their top players will be able to explore their worth in the free-agent market. Let’s take a closer look at what the Rams might look like after this season ends and how that affects their chances to win next year’s Super Bowl.
OBJ could jump ship
Perhaps the most notable player who is sure to draw attention from other teams is wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ was a star with the New York Giants before leaving for Cleveland, where injuries and ineffective quarterback play contributed to a disappointing tenure. Playing with the Rams and in hopes of securing a much larger contract in 2022, Beckham Jr. has been performing well above expectation.
At 29 years old, OBJ is no longer considered an elite athlete within the NFL receiver ranks, but his understanding of the position is elite and has given the Rams an excellent additional option to pair with Cooper Kupp. Van Jefferson is an explosive young option that should continue to improve, but if Beckham leaves, it will surely be felt by quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense.
Offensive line could get a makeover
In addition to Beckham, the Rams have two offensive linemen playing on cheap contracts who could test the waters of free agency. Center Brian Allen is making less than $1 million per year for one of the top lines in the league, and his colleague, guard Austin Corbett, is also set to receive a larger payday.
Corbett is just 26 years old. Both players contribute significantly to the Rams, posting the best pass-block win rate in the entire league, a statistic that Stafford and the rest of the team all benefit from.
If the Rams are unable to afford Corbett or 26-year-old Allen, they are sure to face some growing pains in rebuilding an offensive line that also may see the loss of veteran Andrew Whitworth to retirement. While Whitworth doesn’t claim to have any plans to retire, coming off injury and at 40 years old, it would be reasonable to see the veteran left tackle leave at the top, if the Rams can win.
Von Miller may be too expensive
One more player assumed to be moving on following this season is pass-rushing specialist Von Miller. After coming over from the Denver Broncos, Miller made an immediate impact with his ability to supplement all the pressure the rest of the Rams defense puts on opposing offenses.
In the postseason, Miller is tied for fifth on the team with 12 tackles and first with two sacks. Approaching 33 years old and making over $19 million per year, however, it is more than reasonable to expect Miller to move on with a lesser contract in free agency.
For next year’s Super Bowl odds, the Rams are listed third at +1100, behind the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. While a loss of Beckham would be felt in the passing attack, the Rams should be getting Robert Woods back from injury to offset any loss there.
NFL Championship 2022/2023
Sun, February 12 2023, 11:30 PM
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Green Bay Packers
Miller was always expected to be a one-year rental, and it is likely far more important that the Rams attempt to secure long-term contracts for some of their younger linebackers who are also eligible for free agency.
Troy Reeder, Travin Howard, and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo will probably get bigger paydays in 2022, and their destinations will more likely determine the strength of the Rams’ linebacking corps in 2022.
The biggest potential losses are sure to be along the offensive line, which has been mostly dominant in 2021 but would be significantly affected if Allen and Corbett somehow both departed. Given the strong correlation to pass blocking and pass rushing in determining a team’s success in today’s NFL, these are the two players to watch as it relates to futures value.
With the Packers in turmoil, Tom Brady retired, and the Dallas Cowboys always feeling a step behind, the Rams have an excellent opportunity to repeat as NFC champions in 2022. Their division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, have just lost their offensive coordinator and are likely going to have a new quarterback.
Winning teams will emerge to challenge, but the pathway looks clear for the Rams to be favorites and lean on their stars to find their way back to the Super Bowl in 2022.