The uncharacteristically messy hair and grimace of pain and anxiety were long gone.
Early Friday morning, as he was speaking to reporters for the first time since the day after his team’s disastrous 2022 season ended, Rams coach Sean McVay’s perfectly coiffed gel nail was back in full effect. He wore an easy, relaxed smile and comfortable yoga gear.
It’s been two months since the 37-year-old McVay said he would step back and take time to reflect and consider whether to coach in 2023, a decision he made in less than a week.
Now, on the eve of NFL free agency and nearly a month from the start of offseason training and the draft, the bearded McVay looked and sounded refreshed.
And willing to leave behind the speculation about his future.
“I’m really committed to not having this become a story every year,” McVay said, from his home office, during a 45-minute video conference call, “because I know that’s something that people ask or wonder about. …
“There was never any question as to whether he wanted to return to training. It’s really just, ‘Are you going to be able to get the right perspective to be the best version of yourself for the players and the coaches?’
“I feel confident that it can exist in the future. But it’s exciting because of all the different things ahead of us.”
NFL rosters change every year. But due to the Rams’ salary cap issues (they’re about $16 million over the $224.8 million cap) and a philosophical shift, there will be more high-profile removals than usual and likely limited, if any, high-profile additions. profile. for the first time since McVay was hired in 2017.
On Friday, two weeks after releasing veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Rams released running back Leonard Floyd.
Floyd, 30, was scheduled to carry a salary cap of $22 million, according to overthecap.com. Releasing Floyd before June 1 saves the Rams $3 million in cap space, but comes with a $19 million hit in dead money, according to the website.
Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and wide receiver Allen Robinson could also be traded or released.
A few hours before Floyd’s release, McVay was asked if he anticipated Floyd, Ramsey and Allen would be on the list next week.
“…We’re excited to roll up our sleeves, get down to business, and figure out how we can be as competitive as possible.”
— Sean McVay, on the Rams 2023
“Those are all fluid situations,” he said. “We’ve had a dialogue with those guys about, you know, what the possibilities are.
“You want to have some of those internal conversations, but you also don’t want people to be caught off guard.”
General manager Les Snead said Thursday that quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Aaron Donald remain “load bearings” on the roster. All three players are coming off injuries that sidelined them for the latter part of a 5-12 season, the worst performance a year after a Super Bowl champion in NFL history.
“What I need from them is for them to be able to enjoy every day and play to the best of their ability and not feel like they have to carry more weight than they are capable of carrying,” McVay said, adding: “It’s more about let’s figure out how we can, you know, surround them with the best players so we can hone their skills.”
The Rams have 18 players who will become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday, the start of the new NFL league year. They include cornerbacks Troy Hill and David Long, safeties Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott and all the specialists.
Asked Friday if the Rams were interested in signing wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Robert Woods, McVay said it would be “silly” not to and “those are situations we’ll absolutely watch.” Hours after McVay spoke, the NFL Network reported that Woods has agreed to a two-year deal with the Houston Texans.
Beckham was reportedly scheduled to perform on Friday in Arizona to demonstrate his recovery from the knee injury he sustained during the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in February 2022.
After receiving four compensation picks Thursday, the Rams have 10 picks in the April 27-29 draft in Kansas City, Missouri, including one in the second and third rounds, three in the fifth, three in the sixth and two in the seventh. .
McVay hired 10 new coaches and has a staff of 22, including offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn, offensive line coach Ryan Wendell and defensive backs coach/passing coordinator Aubrey Pleasant, member of staff from 2017 to 2020.
“Just like when we first got here in 2017,” McVay said, “we’re excited to roll up our sleeves, get to work and figure out how we can be as competitive as possible.”