The Rams committed to Matthew Stafford, but salary cap issues remain a big issue

Rams general manager Les Snead channeled his in-house construction contractor Thursday as he searches for the right term to define the team’s philosophy for 2023 and beyond.

Renovate? Restructure? Rebuild?

Regardless of the deadline, the Rams look to be building a Super Bowl champion in the 2021 season before cratering last season.

“To attack our DNA is to hit the gas,” Snead said in a video conference call with reporters. “We want to hit the brakes a little bit.

“That doesn’t change, nor how we approach the season, how we approach the day. But, without a doubt, it will change the way the list is built.”

As the Rams try to cut about $16 million in cap space Wednesday to get under the NFL’s $224.8 million salary cap, it looks like they’re going from all-in to almost all-in.

High-priced quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Aaron Donald will return, according to Snead.

But the Rams already released veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner. And while Snead wouldn’t confirm, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, edge rusher Leonard Floyd and receiver Allen Robinson could all be released before, during or after free agency begins Wednesday.

“I’ll keep the details of those in-house because time will tell,” Snead said when asked if he expected Ramsey, Floyd and Robinson to be on the roster late next week. “I know we’ve communicated with a lot of our players, including them.

“So we’re trying to, well, assess the situations, figure out how to get under the hood, what’s the best way to do that.”

Rams general manager Les Snead looks on before a game against the Arizona Cardinals in October.

(Kyusung Gong/Associated Press)

Shortly after Snead spoke, the NFL gave the Rams four options to compensate for the 2022 departures of offensive lineman Austin Corbett, defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, running backs Von Miller and Obo Okoronkwo and cornerback Darious Williams. The signing of Robinson received the fifth pick.

The Rams have 10 picks for the April 27-29 draft in Kansas City, one in the second and third rounds, three in the fifth, three in the sixth and two in the seventh.

The Rams haven’t had a first-round pick since 2016, when they traded up 14 spots to select quarterback Jared Goff No. 1 overall. In the years since, they’ve traded high draft picks for star players.

But that practice could change as the Rams “need to engineer a healthier cap situation,” Snead said.

“We’ve used draft capital in the past to maybe get a veteran player, knowing that veteran player is going to cost a certain amount and we can really adjust to our cap situation,” Snead said, “In that.” The situation is maybe you’re not using draft capital to get a veteran player, but you’re using capital to make regular rookies.”

In January, the Rams kept their most important asset when coach Sean McVay decided to return for a seventh season. The day after the season-ending loss to the Seattle Seahawks, McVay indicated for the second year in a row that he would take time to decide whether he would return.

Less than a week later, he was back.

McVay, who plans to speak to reporters Friday, has “an action plan” that goes beyond 2023, Snead said.

“It was for a longer-term district, let’s call it,” Snead said. “I don’t think you’re going to see Sean every year deciding if he wants to be a coach.”

But Snead said he predicted the broadcast networks would likely pursue McVay.

“We’ll see that every year,” Snead said, “but I don’t think you’ll see Sean trying to determine if he really wants to be a coach.

“He spent some time this year and figured that out.”

Rams coach Sean McVay watches the team warm up before a game against the Denver Broncos.

Rams coach Sean McVay watches the team warm up before a game against the Denver Broncos on Christmas Day last year.

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Now McVay and Snead must come up with a plan to rebound from a disastrous 5-12 finish in 2022, the worst postseason performance by a Super Bowl champion.

Stafford, who turned 35 last month, begins to maximize his talent.

“We’re definitely going to rely on Matthew,” Snead said. “He’s definitely one of our pillars.”

So the Rams aren’t going to “tear down the house and start rebuilding,” Snead said.

“Someone like Matthew Stafford, players like Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald … we still have some walls of weight and we’re going to rely on them,” he said, adding, “And at that point retool. around them maybe with different teammates, different partners.”


McVay completed his coaching staff, the Rams announced. New hires include Jimmy Lake (assistant coach), Chase Blackburn (special teams coordinator), Ryan Wendell (offensive line), Nick Caley (tight ends), John Coniglio (outside linebackers), Aubrey Pleasant (defensive backs/pass game coordinator) . ), Andrew Carter (defensive line assistant) and Mike Harris (defensive assistant).

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