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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 searched for the right term to define the team’s philosophy for 2023 and beyond.

Remodel? Restructure? Rebuild?

Whatever the term, the Rams seem to be looking at how they built a Super Bowl champion in the 2021 season, before collapsing last season.

“Our DNA is to attack, step on the gas,” Snead said during a video conference with reporters. “We want to put on the brakes a bit.

“That does not change, right, how we are going to approach the season, how we are going to approach the day to day. But it will definitely change the way we approach roster building.”

As the Rams try to cut about $16 million to get below the $224.8 million salary cap for the start of the new NFL league year on Wednesday, they appear to be shifting from all-in to nearly all-out-the-door. .

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

But the Rams have already released veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner. And while Snead wouldn’t confirm it, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, running back Leonard Floyd and wide receiver Allen Robinson could all be traded or released before, during or after the start of free agency on Wednesday.

“I’m going to keep the details of them internal because time will tell,” Snead said when asked if he anticipated Ramsey, Floyd and Robinson would be on the list by the end of next week. “I know that we have communicated with many of our players, including those.

“So we’re trying to, well, assess situations, figure out how to go under the limit, what’s the best way to do it.”

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 awarded the Rams four compensatory draft picks for the 2022 departures of offensive lineman Austin Corbett, defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, linebackers Von Miller and Obo Okoronkwo and cornerback Darious Williams. The signing of Robinson made up for receiving a fifth selection.

The Rams now have 10 picks heading into the April 27-29 draft in Kansas City, including 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 14 sports 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 “have to engineer a healthier cap situation,” Snead said.

“In the past, we’ve used draft capital to maybe go get a veteran player, knowing that that veteran player is going to cost a certain amount and we can fit him into our cap situation,” Snead said, adding: “In this In one situation, maybe you don’t use draft capital to get a veteran player, but use the capital to draft normal rookies.”

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

Less than a week later, he was back.

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

“It was for, let’s call it, a long-term range,” Snead said. “I don’t think you see Sean every year determine if he wants to train or not.”

But Snead said he anticipated that the broadcast networks would likely continue to come after McVay.

“We might see that every year,” Snead said, “but I don’t think you see Sean trying to figure out if he really wants to train or not.

“She spent some time this year and figured it 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 recover from their disastrous 5-12 finish in 2022, the worst performance by a Super Bowl champion in the season since.

It starts with maximizing the talent of Stafford, who turned 35 last month.

“We’re definitely going to trust Matthew,” Snead said. “He is definitely one of our pillars.”

So the Rams won’t “tear down the house and start rebuilding from the ground up,” Snead said.

“When you have somebody like Matthew Stafford, players like Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald… there are some load-bearing walls that we still have and we’re going to rely on,” he said, adding: “And at that point reshape around him with maybe different teammates, different partners.”


McVay has terminated his coaching staff, the Rams announced. Includes new signings Jimmy Lake (associate head coach), Chase Blackburn (special teams coordinator), Ryan Wendell (offensive line), Nick Caley (tight ends), John Coniglio (outside linebackers), Aubrey Pleasant (defensive coordinator /passing game). ), Andrew Carter (assistant defensive line) and Mike Harris (assistant defense).