Dante Fowler Jersey

Although considered to be voluntary workouts, players that skip their team’s early offseason programs are often criticized in the media. With the Los Angeles Rams seemingly encountering a similar issue, both cornerback Marcus Peters and pass rusher Dante Fowler have remained absent from the start of the team’s offseason activities.

The defending NFC champions opened their offseason program on Monday, without a pair of key defensive players present.

Coach Sean McVay acknowledged to reporters that linebacker Dante Fowler and cornerback Marcus Peters did not attend. McVay didn’t fault them for being absent, pointing out that the workouts are “voluntary” and that they “had communicated well ahead of time.”

“Certainly, it is voluntary and we understand that,” McVay said. “But as long as we just know they’re in a good place or what’s going on with them. . . . [Fowler and Peters will] be here once they get some of those things taken care of that they had to do.”

McVay also expressed hope that cornerback Troy Hill and linebacker Cory Littleton, both unsigned restricted free agents, will soon join the team.

“I think once they come in, you’d like to be able to get those guys to sign,” McVay said. “That’s something that we’re navigating through right now. Cory was the other guy that he communicated to us that he had something going on. We don’t expect anything to be different. Those are guys that we hope to be on our team and looking forward to working with.”

For a team that is known for its offense, the L.A. defense also has significance. After all, it held the Patriots to a mere 13 points in Super Bowl LIII, a thin silver lining in what ultimately was a 10-point loss.

Justis Mosqueda recently released an article for Bleacher Report where he outlines one offseason move every NFL team could regret. The transaction Justis chose for the Los Angeles Rams was re-signing edge Dante Fowler Jr to a one-year $12m contract that could reach $14m depending on incentives:

The Los Angeles Rams came close to winning their first Super Bowl since 1999 last season, though Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots ruined the party, beating them 13-3.

But coming into the 2019 campaign, expectations remain high.

The core of the Rams remains intact under head coach Sean McVay, led by quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley and arguably the best player in all of football, defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Gone are Mark Barron, John Sullivan, Rodger Saffold, Ndamukong Suh and LaMarcus Joyner. In are Eric Weddle, Blake Bortles as the backup quarterback and Clay Matthews. Dante Fowler Jr. re-signed, while the team will get star wide receiver Cooper Kupp back from injury, giving them a dynamic trio at wide receiver alongside Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks.

While his teammates in EDGE Rusher Rashean Gary and linebacker Devin Bush are more highly touted for their potential, it should be mentioned that Winovich actually put up the statistics, as he led the team with 17 tackles for loss in his senior season. His 109 pressures in his final two seasons ranks fourth in the NCAA, according to Pro Football Focus.

While those numbers are all well and good, Winovich’s draft stock was raised recently due to his impressive combine numbers, including a 4.59 second 40-yard-dash with a 10-second split of 1.57, which is just .01 seconds slower than former top-5 picks such as Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah, Dante Fowler Jr., and Dion Jordan.

Perhaps the most impressive stat Winovich put up at the combine was his 20-yard-shuttle (4.11 sec) and 3-cone-drill (6.94 sec), which both place in 90th percentile of those respective categories among these years prospect. Those specific numbers are very encouraging when compared to other NFL legends, as The Ringer’s Robert Mays covered last week:

As the Rams prepare for the NFL draft, The Times will examine their roster. Part 1 of 8: Linebackers.

Seeking an edge-rushing presence, the Rams made a savvy trade-deadline deal for Dante Fowler last season.

The former first-round draft pick helped the Rams make a Super Bowl run, and — after assessing the market — the franchise signed the pending free agent to a one-year, $12-million contract.

They signed veteran linebacker Clay Matthews, attracting him with a winning culture and the chance to return to Southern California. The six-time Pro Bowl player, along with Fowler and third-year pro Samson Ebukam, are expected to provide the Rams with formidable threats while flanking star tackle Aaron Donald.

Ebukam, a starter in 2018, had an offseason knee procedure. He will be brought along slowly during offseason workouts in hopes he will be ready for training camp.

“You feel good with Dante, Clay and Samson,” coach Sean McVay said. “Samson’s history of being able to play both sides gives us some flexibility that we really like.”

C.J. Anderson Jersey

Allen Park, Mich. – The Detroit Lions announced today that they have signed unrestricted free agent RB C.J. Anderson. Additional contract terms were not disclosed.

Anderson comes to Detroit after splitting the 2018 season between the Carolina Panthers, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Rams, appearing in 11 games (three starts) and totaling 67 carries for 403 yards (6.0 avg.) and two touchdowns. He spent the previous five seasons of his career with the Denver Broncos (2013-17), playing in 58 games (36 starts) and producing 693 carries for 3,051 yards (4.4 avg.) and 20 touchdowns during that span.

Anderson originally entered the NFL with the Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2013 out of California. He helped the Broncos capture Super Bowl 50 and topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 2017.

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If not for C.J. Anderson, the Los Angeles Rams may not have reached the Super Bowl. He helped them secure a first-round bye with 100-yard performances in the last two games of the regular season before racking up 123 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ win over Dallas in the divisional round.

He filled in admirably for the injured Todd Gurley, looking like a Pro Bowl back behind the Rams’ outstanding offensive line. As good as he was, his stay in L.A. might have been brief. Anderson is a free agent and has yet to be re-signed by the Rams, who matched the Lions’ offer sheet for Malcolm Brown to bring him back next season.

Anderson tweeted last week that he had yet to receive a single offer from a team this offseason, seemingly generating little interest on the open market. On Thursday, he shared two cryptic tweets that suggest the Rams won’t be bringing him back in 2019.

Hours after that tweet was posted, Anderson shared this message, as well. He says he just wants the chance to play all 16 games as the starter without teams making excuses.

He doesn’t want to hear about how coaches and general managers “like this guy” instead. Anderson wants the chance to play all 16 games so he can show what he’s capable of.

The Detroit Lions signed C.J. Anderson with a thought of him playing a big role for the team’s running game, and they got Anderson to come to town on a big deal with which to do so. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Anderson will be cashing in on a $1.5 million dollar contract which includes a $200,000 signing bonus.

“The Lions gave veteran RB CJ Anderson a 1-year deal worth nearly $1.5M, source said. He got a $200K signing bonus,” Rapoport tweeted. “The max CJ Anderson can earn with incentives is $3M,” he also said.

After the move to sign Anderson was made official, veteran DetroitLions.com columnist Mike O’Hara revealed some serious facts as it relates to Anderson’s stats in the league thus far, namely, the fact that the runner has never averaged below 4.0 yards per-carry in a season.

“Six reasons to like the Detroit Lions’ signing of veteran RB C.J Anderson,: 5.4, 4.7, 4.7, 4.0, 4.1, 6.0. Those are his yards per carry in all six of his seasons. Never below 4.0,” O’Hara tweeted.

Stats like that only prove how much Anderson could be worth the money in the end for Detroit, and on the whole, the contract is very palatable for the Lions, who could stand to gain a ton if Anderson plays like he has in the past for them.

Before joining the Raiders and Rams, Anderson spent five total seasons in Denver, rushing for 3,051 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also brought in 103 receptions for 859 yards and five touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2014 when he ran for 849 yards and eight touchdowns. Although his best statistical rushing season came in 2017 when he ran for 1,007 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the production, the Broncos opted to release Anderson the following April right before the 2018 NFL Draft. John Elway would go on to draft running back Royce Freeman from the University of Oregon and sign Phillip Lindsay as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Colorado.

The former Broncos runner later signed a deal with the Carolina Panthers following his release, but he was only on the team until November 12th after Christian McCaffrey’s continued emergence pushed him to the sidelines. Anderson finished his brief stint in Carolina with 24 carries for 104 yards and one reception for 24 yards and a touchdown. Following his release by both the Panthers and Raiders, Anderson’s time in the NFL appeared to be over, but the Los Angeles Rams brought him to town and reaped serious benefits.

He rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals and then finished off the regular season with 132 yards and another score against the 49ers. Once the playoffs arrived, he turned another corner and became even more productive. In the NFC Divisional victory over the Cowboys, Anderson piled up 123 yards and two touchdowns while running through this vaunted defense with ease. Admittedly, Anderson was less effective in the NFC Championship (44 yards) and Super Bowl LIII (22 yards), but much of this was owed to overall offensive dysfunction. The Rams struggled to get into a rhythm in both games, resulting in fewer touches for both Anderson and Gurley. Before his deal in Los Angeles, the Lions looked at signing Anderson. Clearly, they still liked what they saw from the durable back.

Anderson has been durable, solid and available, which figures to be a dream combo for the Lions, who would like to see him continue to hammer out the yards. He will do so, and the team hopes he earns every bit of his money in 2019.

Eric Weddle Jersey

Monday marked the first day of work for the Los Angeles Rams as players reported for the start of offseason workouts. They’re completely voluntary so players can’t be punished from skipping them, but the vast majority of the roster was in attendance.

Among those participating in workouts were the Rams’ newest acquisitions, including Eric Weddle, Blake Bortles and Clay Matthews. They put on their new practice jerseys for the first time, debuting their numbers in the process.

Though the roster hasn’t officially been updated, it seems Weddle, Matthews and Bortles will all keep their jersey numbers from their previous teams. Weddle was wearing No. 32, Matthews had on No. 52 and Bortles was in No. 5.

Quarterback John Wolford, who the Rams signed from the AAF, was also seen wearing No. 9 on Monday.

It’s no surprise to see Matthews in 52 and Bortles still wearing No. 5, considering neither of those numbers was occupied by other players on the roster. However, Troy Hill, who’s a restricted free agent and has yet to sign his one-year tender, has worn No. 32 since 2016.

Perhaps Weddle worked out some sort of deal with Hill for the number, or maybe he’ll just wear it until the young cornerback arrives, but it’s not possible for both players to wear it during the season.

Before the free agency period even officially started, the Rams signed safety Eric Weddle to a two-year deal after Baltimore cut the veteran in early March.

In his introductory press conference, Weddle talked about being a good scheme fit under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips because he’s familiar with the system — having played in a variation of it during his many years with the Chargers.

Weddle just turned 34 in January, but has still shown plenty of ability to play at a high level. Using NFL GamePass, here are a few examples from the 2018 season in this film breakdown.

When you think about a free safety, the first thing you probably think about is his coverage ability. That’s where we’ll start with Weddle, who broke up a key deep pass to Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones in Week 13 of the 2018 season.

It’s 1st-and-10 from the Falcons’ 25 in the first quarter, with the Ravens up 7-3 (they’d end up winning 26-16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium). Baltimore showed a two-deep safety look pre-snap, with Weddle toward the bottom of the screen.

In a deep pool of free-agent safeties available, Eric Weddle seemed to find himself near the top of the list for many teams. He reportedly had 11 teams interested and whittled the list down to five before signing with the Rams a little over a week ago.

He joined Los Angeles on a two-year deal worth $10.5 million, a bargain by just about every measure. The Rams were supposed to be his last stop on the free-agent circuit but the team made a strong play to get him in the building first, which may have made all the difference.

From a talent and leadership perspective, the Rams couldn’t have asked for a much better replacement for Lamarcus Joyner at that price. Weddle will come in right away as a starter and a leader in the locker room, completely embodying the Rams’ “We not me” slogan.

“Every decision I’ve ever made is always thinking about the team and thinking about what’s best for the defense. A lot of people think when I play on the field and I do some wild stuff, it’s never about me. It’s never about what makes me better or what I can do to make some stats. It’s always about making the defense as best as possible within the play, within that down, how can I affect the game, how can I set up my teammates to make a play for them to help our defense, to help get the ball back to the offense,” Weddle said at his press conference recently. “That just epitomizes what I’m about – I’m about my team. I love this game to death and I cherish it. I know it can end at any moment, so I don’t live with regrets. I don’t live with, ‘I wish I would have done this, I wish would have not said that.’”

Weddle has always been viewed as a strong leader in the NFL, from his days with the Chargers to his time in Baltimore. Les Snead got a taste of that when the Rams signed Weddle with agents reaching out on behalf of players to express just how great of a teammate the safety was.

“This is a first, probably – when we signed Eric, I had at least four agents reach out to me,” Snead said. “This time of year, a lot of agents are reaching out to you, you’re thinking they’re going to obviously, maybe sell their client to the Rams. But each one of them basically said hey, they represent a teammate who played with Eric and they just wanted to share with me that, ‘Hey, their clients thought Eric was one of the best teammates they had ever had.’ I’ve never had that occur really. Pretty neat for your legacy, Eric.”

Austin Blythe Jersey

The Los Angeles Rams made a deep run into the playoffs, reaching Super Bowl LIII. Of course, they came up short against the New England Patriots, but that’s not to say it wasn’t a successful season.

The Rams built one of the best rosters in football and uncovered a hidden gem at right guard in Austin Blythe. He took over for Jamon Brown, who was suspended two games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Blythe never relinquished the starting job, playing all 16 games, just as the other four starters did on the offensive line.

He was a huge part of the Rams’ success on offense, shoring up the weakest spot on the offensive line from 2017. Blythe finished with an overall grade of 71.0 from Pro Football Focus, good for 12th among all guards in the NFL.

He thoroughly enjoyed playing for the Rams, too, saying they helped him enjoy football again.

“I think that’s what makes the Rams so special, that everyone is so connected,” Blythe said. “I was telling (offensive line coach Aaron Kromer) that I enjoyed playing football this year — it wasn’t a job, it was a game again — and it was a lot of fun, a lot of fun playing with the guys that we have on the team and unfortunately not everyone is going to be here next year, but hopefully we’ve got a lot of the same guys back because they are great guys. Like I said, I’m already looking forward to the offseason.”

Blythe was merely a backup in 2017, coming in to fill in for John Sullivan at center from time to time. However, he showed great versatility and had no problem playing guard in place of Brown.

That proved to be a great move for the Rams, finding a diamond in the rough after claiming him off waivers in May 2017. Now, they have a long-term starter at right guard for a very low cost.

Bortles steps in as Jared Goff’s backup, replacing Sean Mannion. That’s an upgrade for the Rams, and at $1 million, Bortles is likely to be cheaper than Mannion, too.

Malcolm Brown is in danger of leaving for the Lions, which would cause the Rams to become fairly thin at running back. C.J. Anderson is always an option to return, but without Brown, it’d be up to John Kelly and Justin Davis.

No changes were made at wide receiver, nor at tight end. It’s still the same group at both spots with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett being interchangeable as the “starter.”

The offensive line looks dramatically different. Andrew Whitworth is fortunately back, but Saffold is gone, as is John Sullivan. Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen figure to step in at left guard and center, respectively, to plug those holes. Noteboom would also probably be Whitworth’s backup if the season started today. Thankfully, it’s only March.

Austin Blythe can play center and guard, as can Aaron Neary. Overall, there’s a good amount of versatility up front.

Austin Blythe and Cory Littleton aren’t easily recognizable names, but to the Los Angeles Rams, they’re incredibly valuable players. Blythe took over for Jamon Brown last season and started all 19 games (including postseason) for the Rams, playing at a very high level in his first year as a starter.

Littleton stepped in after Alec Ogletree was traded and made the Pro Bowl as a special teams player, blocking two punts in 2018. Both he and Blythe were big parts of the Rams’ success and they were rewarded handsomely.

The NFL announced the top 25 players in performance-based pay and both were among the top earners. Blythe was second in the NFL with a bonus of $380,060 last season, while Littleton earned $371,379 – fifth in the league. Ravens center Matt Skura topped the list at $395,660.

The purpose of the league’s performance-based pay program is to reward players who outplay their salary. It accounts for playing time compared to base salaries, which is why Littleton and Blythe were toward the top of the list.

The NFL also paid out bonuses from the veteran pool, adding to Blythe’s and Littleton’s pay in 2018. Blythe earned an added $133,556 (fifth) with Littleton taking home $130,864 (seventh). In total, Blythe made $513,616 and Littleton added $502,243 to his bank account, which ranked second and third in the NFL, respectively.

Rob Havenstein Jersey

The Los Angeles Rams handed out contract extensions like candy last offseason, signing Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Brandin Cooks and Rob Havenstein to lucrative deals in a very short span. They all look like wise decisions up to this point, and while Donald is the best of the bunch, Havenstein’s deal looks like a bargain.

The big right tackle signed a four-year, $32.5 million extension in August and absolutely delivered in his first season on the new contract. He’s turned into one of the best offensive tackles in football, leading all linemen in 2018 with a run-blocking grade of 84.5 from Pro Football Focus.

Havenstein wasn’t viewed as an elite tackle prior to 2018, but he’s become one in short time. Looking at his stats over the past three years, he’s improved significantly and truly become one of the best tackles – not just right tackles – in football.

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In 2016, he allowed nine sacks for 92 yards and was called for four penalties. In 2017, he improved by allowing just five sacks for 30 yards, though he did have six penalties for 50 yards. Last season, all of those numbers plummeted, and in a good way.

He was called for just one penalty and surrendered only two sacks for 18 yards in the regular season and postseason altogether. That’s 19 total games without missing a single snap and allowing just three penalties and sacks combined.

Havenstein’s performance this past season really puts his contract into perspective as far as it being a bargain. Sure, his average salary of $8.125 million per year ranks fourth among all right tackles. However, he’s 22nd among all offensive tackles in terms of annual salary, which makes his deal look even better.

If Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams take down the New England Patriots Sunday in Super Bowl LIII, providing a narratively taut bookend to the Pats’ dynasty, they will do so in no small part thanks to the quiet contributions of Rob Havenstein.

You likely don’t know that name, unless you’ve spent any time wandering the halls, or the gym, or the weight room, or the locker room, or the coaches offices, or basically allowed your eyes to be open anywhere inside Linganore High School’s property line. There are trophies and photos, but there are also news clips, just about anywhere you look, celebrating Havenstein’s success.
Right tackles have become increasingly important, too, with some of the best pass rushers lining up on the left side of the defensive line, facing right tackles. This past season alone, Havenstein faced the likes of Von Miller, Cameron Jordan, DeMarcus Lawrence and Khalil Mack, holding his own against each guy.

As a lead blocker, it’s simply not fair, either. His power and athleticism make him dangerous in the open field with a ball carrier trailing him.

The Rams got ahead of his breakout season by signing him in August and it’s looking like one of the best decisions Les Snead has made. Havenstein is going to be a huge part of the Rams for a long time at a very reasonable cost.

Offensive line continuity scores were originally developed by Jason McKinley in the early days of FO (when FO Almanac was still Pro Football Prospectus) and we have since gone back and calculated it for every team since 1999. The continuity scores are based on three variables: number of starters used; number of week-to-week changes in starting lineups; and the longest starting streak of any one five-man unit. A team can earn a maximum of 16 points in any one category (one point per game), meaning a team that started the same five linemen in all 16 games would get a perfect score of 48; the 2018 Los Angeles Rams last year became the 38th team do so, as the quintet of Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, John Sullivan, Austin Blythe, and Rob Havenstein started ever game, including the playoffs. (This is no doubt a large reason they were able to post the highest adjusted line yards of any offense on record.) Hypothetically, if a team started five brand new linemen every week of the year, they would get a “perfect” score of -57, though of course nobody has ever come close to that.

7 teams that have to ace the 2019 NFL Draft after a quiet free agent period – SB Nation
Washington’s most notable move this offseason was signing Landon Collins for a whopping $84 million. He’ll serve as an upgrade over an underwhelming Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but he can’t fill the club’s other myriad of problems. New arrival Case Keenum could be an improvement over Colt McCoy at quarterback if he returns to his 2017 peak, or he could be responsible for another lost season if he plays like his 2018 regression. Jamison Crowder and Maurice Harris both left the receiving corps, while Preston Smith, a useful edge rusher, took a massive salary bump to be part of the Packers’ newfound spending strategy in Wisconsin. Dan Snyder’s team is in a tough spot. Last year’s squad did just well enough before Alex Smith’s potentially career-ending injury to push Washington to the 15th pick in this year’s draft, and it’s also out a fourth-rounder thanks to the Clinton-Dix trade last season. It’s been four years since Washington drafted a player who’d go on to the Pro Bowl — a trend the team needs to reverse after sending out more talent than it took in in free agency.

Tyler Higbee Jersey

At the time of the 2016 NFL Draft, there were some critics that believed the Los Angeles Rams were making a mistake by giving up numerous picks in order to trade up in the first round with the Tennessee Titans to take Jared Goff at No. 1.

For years leading up to 2016, the Rams were in desperate need of help at the quarterback position, and went through numerous players that turned out to be complete busts, which was frustrating at times since the defense was in decent shape.

Gambling on Goff following a stellar career at California seemed risky at the time, but looking back, this was the best decision Los Angeles ever could have made since this team has become a serious threat in the NFC over the last two seasons.

Image result for Tyler Higbee

The Skinny: They traded up to land quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall pick, and that now is a move that has paid off in a big way — despite the way he played in the Super Bowl. He is their franchise passer. Their next pick came in the fourth round when they took tight end Tyler Higbee, who is a starter on their offense. They got little after that

How I did: I thought the move to land Goff was the right move, so I hit that one. I liked the pick of Higbee, but also liked fourth-round receiver Pharoah Cooper, but he is no longer with the team.

Prisco points out the obvious that trading up for Goff paid off in the biggest way possible for the Rams, and despite what took place in Super Bowl 53, there’s every reason in the world to feel confident in his ability to continue leading the offense moving forward.

As for some of the other picks, while it’s great to see Tyler Higbee continuing to look like a steal for Los Angeles, it is crazy to still think about how Pharoh Cooper is no longer with the team since he was a Pro Bowler during the 2017 season.

Based off his numbers since 2016 when he went 0-7 as a starter, it’s been amazing to watch Goff get better with experience over the years for the Rams, as getting the chance to work with Sean McVay has been the best thing to happen to his career.

Plus, if Goff ever helps Los Angeles secure a Super Bowl title or two over the next couple of years, maybe the grade will eventually improve from a B+ to an A- or A.

Brandin Cooks continued his consistent ways in 2018, posting his fourth straight season with at least 65 catches and 1,000 yards. It was his first of many years with the Los Angeles Rams, meeting (and exceeding) just about every expectation he faced when he was traded by the Patriots.

Jared Goff targeted Cooks frequently throughout the season, throwing 117 passes his way. More often than not, Cooks came down with receptions, producing an excellent passer rating for Goff.

According to Pro Football Focus, Cooks thrived on three particular routes: corners, posts and screens. On corner routes, he produced a perfect passer rating of 158.3, which was tied for Austin Hooper for the best in the NFL.

On post routes, Cooks’ rating was 143.9, second only behind Jordy Nelson (155.8). With his speed, he was able to get behind the defense and break open for Goff on several occasions. His quickness was also deadly on screen passes, which he produced a rating of 127.4 on – second in the NFL behind Christian Kirk (136.7).

Cooks wasn’t the only Rams player to get recognized by PFF on this list. Tyler Higbee surprisingly made an appearance, leading the league on quick outs. He produced a passer rating of 143.3 on such routes.

That’s not to say they won’t be looking for offensive playmakers, too, as McVay said this week.

“I think when you go back and you look at our tape and say, ‘Alright where are some areas that we could be better as coaches, starting out, but what are some of the nuances from a skill set that we are looking for, whether it’s from a receiver, tight end, or running back?’” McVay said, via the team’s official site. “In a lot of instances it’s playmakers and guys that can do different things and have a versatile skill set whether it be running back, tight end, or receiver.”

Assuming Todd Gurley is healthy, running back isn’t a pressing need – especially with Malcolm Brown set to return as a restricted free agent. C.J. Anderson is a candidate to return, too, but he hasn’t received an offer from the Rams, or any other team, for that matter.

The wide receiver unit is rich with talent thanks to Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp – who are all backed up by Josh Reynolds – while Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee are the top two tight ends. It’d be unusual to see the Rams address any of these needs with the 31st overall pick, but don’t rule out a selection or two being used on offense.

Jared Goff Jersey

Sooner or later, the Los Angeles Rams will need to decide on Jared Goff’s next contract.

After looking at all of the extensions handed out to key players last offseason by the Los Angeles Rams, Jared Goff knew that it was only a matter of time before the team most likely rewarded him for his stellar play.

Despite some of the concerns early on in his career, Goff seems to get better with experience each season, and after the Rams came up short in Super Bowl 53, all eyes will be on the former No. 1 pick to see if he can help the team make another run.

Image result for Jared Goff

Of course, whether Goff’s contract situation will end up being a distraction is a different story since Sean McVay already hinted in March that Los Angeles was leaning towards holding off for now, which arguably seems fair.

Even if Goff’s fifth-year option for 2020 gets picked up as expected, the Rams realize they will need to strongly consider an extension at some point over the next year or so. And if the team decides to wait it out a bit while other top quarterbacks across the league up for new deals, this could give Goff a little leverage in the negotiation process down the road.

Until Goff’s next deal becomes official, this is going to be a topic that Los Angeles may not be able to escape, and it will be interesting to see what some of the other quarterbacks looking for new deals end up earning as well since they could play a factor for the Rams as well.

One of the most recent success stories in the NFL resides in Los Angeles, where Jared Goff was introduced to Sean McVay, and a QB that was once thought to be a bust turned into an NFC Championship winning quarterback for the Rams.

Now, that story arc is getting proposed for second-year QB Josh Rosen, and this time it’s Washington Redskins’ coach Jay Gruden that holds the secret key to unlocking loads of talent not yet realized inside of a young QB.

After getting drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Rosen underwent a grueling rookie season that saw him thrown into the fire behind a makeshift offensive line and an offensive coordinator who was given the ax midway through the season.

As a result, Rosen — who was once thought to be the best QB in a 2018 draft class that was ripe with QB talent — finished the year with 11 TD, 14 INT and a 66.7 QBR. Not great.

However, as speculation has emerged that the Cardinals might pair Heisman-winning QB Kyler Murray with new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, many are wondering what this would mean for Rosen.

A Redskins-Cardinals trade for Rosen has been floated, and the motivations behind it check out. Washington has had a tumultuous past with QB’s and they are seemingly looking for a young signal-caller to groom behind Case Keenum, who they acquired via trade earlier this year. Likewise, should the Cardinals go the Murray route, then they would have a young QB with loads of upside sitting on their roster getting reps with the second-team. Should Arizona choose to treat Rosen as a trade chip, and the Redskins meet their asking price, everybody wins.

If Rosen were to make the move to D.C. and spend time learning from both Gruden and Keenum, there is a very real possibility that he blooms into a gun-slinger to the likes of Goff. It’s possible that Gruden has the coaching abilities to bring the best out of Rosen, now it’s just a matter of whether or not he will get the chance.

Sean McVay continues to be a hot topic among NFL discussions. Since joining the Rams in 2017, the Rams have a record of 24-8 and reached his first Super Bowl in 2018.

McVay has worked wonders for Jared Goff and the Rams as a whole. Goff had the potential to be great and someone like McVay is able to unlock his potential.

Each and every season, the Rams improve on the offensive side of the ball in different areas. In 2018, Los Angeles ranked second in scoring offense and second in total yards of offense.

Teams across the NFL are yearning to find their own version of McVay, whether it be one of his assistant coaches or a young offensive mind. McVay’s imprint on the NFL moving forward has already been made.

Nonetheless, Gurley seems to be doing a lot better now and is set to make a healthy return in 2019. Even with missing two games in 2018, Gurley finished with 1,831 yards from scrimmage and 21 total touchdowns (career-high).

Another unfortunate injury that occurred during the regular season was the one to Cooper Kupp. Kupp was a vital part of the Rams’ high-octane offense.

Every quarterback in the NFL has their “security blanket” and if anyone would be considered Goff’s security blanket it would be Kupp. The young wideout does most of his damage out of the slot position and was excelling alongside Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.

Before he tore his ACL in Week 10, Kupp was on pace for a 1,000-yard season. In eight starts in 2018, Kupp had 40 receptions, 566 yards, and six touchdowns.

The Rams could’ve had three 1,000-yard receivers on their team. That would’ve been only the sixth time that a team had a trio of wideouts surpass 1,000 yards each.

Samson Ebukam Jersey

Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam underwent minor knee surgery after the season, and he is expected to be brought along slowly during offseason workouts so that he will be back to full speed by training camp, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Ebukam, a fourth-round draft pick from Eastern Washington in 2017, started at outside linebacker last season. He made 40 tackles, six for losses, and had two sacks. In the Rams’ 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Ebukam returned an interception and a fumble for touchdowns.

The Rams re-signed Dante Fowler to a one-year contract that could be worth $12 million, according to overthecap.com.

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And on Tuesday, they signed veteran Clay Matthews to a two-year contract. Terms were not disclosed. Matthews, who will turn 33 in May, amassed 83½ career sacks during 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He is scheduled to be introduced at a news conference Thursday.

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Trevon Young are expected to get extended opportunities during offseason workouts and organized team activities.

The Los Angeles Rams entered the offseason needing to bolster their outside pass rush. Samson Ebukam fell short of expectations in 2018 and Dante Fowler Jr. was set to become a free agent. They locked up Fowler before he hit the open market, but they also added a proven veteran in Clay Matthews.

The all-time leader in sacks for the Packers will play multiple positions for the Rams, switching between inside and outside linebacker. His pass-rushing skills have fallen off in recent years, but he’s confident he can still be an impact player.

One area of his game that gets somewhat overlooked is his coverage ability. He was asked to drop into coverage plenty in Green Bay, and it’s easy to see why. He’s adept at retreating and covering ground in the middle, using his athleticism to make throws difficult for quarterbacks.

Pro Football Focus shared some stats about Matthews’ coverage skills over the past decade, showing how capable he is when dropping back.

After a decade with the Green Bay Packers, linebacker Clay Matthews has agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Rams on a two-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.

Matthews, who grew up in Southern California and walked on at USC, signaled his return to Los Angeles on his Twitter account.

The Packers’ career sack leader with 83.5, Matthews registered only 3.5 sacks last season, the lowest single-season total of his career. That was despite his playing in all 16 games in the final season of a five-year, $66 million contract.

“We want to thank Clay for all that he has contributed to the Packers over the past 10 seasons. As the franchise’s all-time sack leader and an integral part of Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV championship, he will be remembered as one of the greatest players in the history of the organization,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said in a statement. “Clay will always be a member of the Packers family. We wish him, his wife, Casey, and the rest of their family all the best moving forward.”

Matthews, 32, joins a position group that includes outside linebackers Dante Fowler, who signed a one-year “prove it” deal worth up to $12 million before the start of free agency, and Samson Ebukam. The Rams also return starting inside linebacker Cory Littleton, who received a second-round tender after he led the team with 90 tackles and intercepted three passes, returning one for a touchdown, last season.

Although he primarily played outside linebacker and edge rusher, Matthews spent parts of the 2014 and 2015 seasons as an inside linebacker, which likely was a key factor in the Rams’ decision to sign him. The Rams recently released veteran inside linebacker Mark Barron and saved $6.33 million in their salary cap, but Barron’s departure left a significant hole in the defense.

Rams general manager Les Snead said last week that second-year pro Micah Kiser could be called upon to step into the role, but that the team would continue to explore options in free agency and the draft.

Despite his dip in production last season, Matthews can still be effective. According to ESPN’s pass rush win rate using NFL Next Gen Stats, he beat his block within 2.5 seconds on 26 percent of rushes in 2018, 27th among 91 players with 300 rushes.

A 2009 first-round pick (26th overall), Matthews made the Pro Bowl six times in his first nine seasons. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2010, when he was the runner-up to Steelers safety Troy Polamalu for Defensive Player of the Year.

Matthews has 11 sacks in 15 career playoff games, the most in Packers postseason history and tied for fifth in NFL playoff history.

Matthews is the fourth player to sign with the Rams in free agency. Along with Matthews and Fowler, the Rams also signed veteran safety Eric Weddle to a two-year deal worth up to $12.28 million and quarterback Blake Bortles to a one-year deal to back up Jared Goff.

John Johnson Jersey

Minutes after head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead introduced safety Eric Weddle to the Los Angeles media, the pair left the media room at the Rams practice facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif. as their rising third-year safety entered.

“We had been texting, we talked a lot, just getting to know him a little bit,” safety John Johnson told reporters after sharing a fairly staged handshake with Weddle in front of the podium backdrop, providing the opportunity for cameras to capture the moment.

“He said he was going to be up here today, so I came up here,” Johnson added.

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A text message brought the budding star to the Rams practice facility to meet Weddle on Tuesday morning, but it wasn’t the first time the pair had spoken.

“I reached out to ‘JJ’ as soon as I signed here and just let him know, ‘Can’t wait to get to work with him.’ You know, the same stuff. Just excited for him. I’ve watched a lot of games. I stole McVay’s iPad when I signed here so I could watch some film,” Weddle said. “He’s pumped. We all are.”

And while Johnson admitted to not following Weddle’s most recent three seasons in Baltimore as closely as the six-time Pro Bowler’s days in San Diego — perhaps a result of launching his own professional career — he was able to break down his new teammate’s skillset, after recalling watching No. 32 with the Bolts back in high school and even middle school.

“He’s just an all-around player, he can do it all,” Johnson said. “He blitzes, he can cover, he can play the middle post, so he can do it all — and that’s something that I like doing, I pride myself on, is doing it all. So it will be a good mix of everything.”

And Weddle likely agrees, or at least that’s what the smile that came across his face suggested when his head coach sat next to him and listed the names that now grace coordinator Wade Phillips’ secondary.

Johnson, cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters — Nickell Robey-Coleman — and now Weddle.

“[T]hose are five instinctual players that I know our DB coaches in the back are excited to get to work with them — with [cornerbacks coach] Aubrey [Pleasant] and [safeties] coach [Ejiro] Evero. It’s a very good day for the Rams and glad to have our guy Eric with us,” McVay said.

“Oh he fits right in. He’s his own guy, his own personality, he won’t hide it,” Johnson said, after rocking multiple hair colors in 2018. “Like you said, he’s got a beard thing going on, hopefully he grows it back out. I think he fits right in with the personalities that we already have.”

Eric Weddle has more experience than most safeties currently in the NFL, racking up 12 years of experience as a pro. He’s played in a few different schemes with a variety of players, but he loves his fit with the Los Angeles Rams.

He’s thrilled to be in a scheme he’s comfortable playing, one that allows him to best utilize his instincts and route recognition. Playing alongside guys like John Johnson III, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib is an added bonus, too, which makes Weddle even more excited about joining the Rams.

At his introductory press conference on Tuesday, he talked about getting to play with those defensive backs and told reporters that he stole Sean McVay’s iPad so he could watch film on Johnson.

“I reached out to ‘JJ’ as soon as I signed here and just let him know, ‘Can’t wait to get to work with him.’ You know, the same stuff. Just excited for him,” Weddle said. “I’ve watched a lot of games. I stole McVay’s iPad when I signed here so I could watch some film. He’s pumped. We all are. We have a great opportunity, but it doesn’t matter if we don’t work. I’ve been a part of some great defenses and great secondaries, and you think you’ll become something, but it doesn’t happen if you don’t give it all you’ve got to it. I’ve reached out to those guys. I can’t wait to work with them. It’s going to be a great offseason and a great season.”

“Obviously, me and Aqib have had our battles on the field – Marcus, too,” Weddle said. “Then the Pro Bowls, visiting and hanging out. The Pro Bowls are a very unique dynamic you get amongst your peers. It’s really, your guard’s down. You really get to know the guy. I’ve really made a lot of friends at the Pro Bowl that will last a lifetime for that reason. You hope everyone gets to experience it for that reason.”

There’s a great deal of potential in the Rams’ secondary, and a whole lot of personality, too. It’s going to be a fun unit to watch.

Cooper Kupp Jersey

Cooper Kupp immediately became a fan favorite in L.A. when he was selected by the Rams in the third round of the 2017 draft. He was viewed as a steal at that point in the draft and by every measure, he’s proved that sentiment right.

In 23 career games, he already has 102 catches for 1,435 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those numbers are even more impressive when considering he missed half the 2018 season with a knee injury, tearing his ACL in Week 10 against the Seahawks. It was a significant blow to the Rams offense and his absence was felt in their Super Bowl LIII loss.

He’s currently rehabbing his surgically repaired knee and is on track to be ready for training camp. In the premiere of “Behind the Grind” Season 2 – the Rams’ mini-docuseries – we get a behind-the-scenes look at Kupp’s rehab.

The episode also looks back at the Rams’ postseason run to the Super Bowl, the hiring of Wade Phillips’ son, Wes, as their tight ends coach, all the happenings from the NFL combine and more.

Additionally, there are some flashbacks to Sean McVay’s high school days with interviews from friends and his former head coach.

The Los Angeles Rams can’t wait for Cooper Kupp to be healthy enough to return to the lineup for the 2019 season after suffering a torn ACL in 2018.

Back in 2017, the Los Angeles Rams felt confident enough in landing a steal during the NFL Draft when they selected Cooper Kupp, even if there were some concerns over the wideout playing college football at a smaller school in Eastern Washington.

Two years later, and it’s safe to say that most teams across the league wish they took a harder look at Kupp like the Rams did since he’s become quite a reliable option as the No. 3 wideout for the offense.

Unfortunately, Kupp’s sophomore campaign came to an end earlier than expected after he suffered a torn ACL in November, leaving Los Angeles in position where they were forced to rely on Josh Reynolds to help fill the void.

While Reynolds deserves credit for filling in the way he did, and coming through with a few key performances, his impact still wasn’t anywhere close to what Kupp normally brings to the table.

Would the Rams have ended up winning the Super Bowl instead of the New England Patriots if Kupp were healthy enough to play? It’s tough to make the case since Los Angeles looked horrendous on offense during that contest, but also this was another example of just how much they missed Kupp in the passing game.

It’s the three-letter acronym that runs through the middle of the knee and ran through the mind of L.A.’s budding star wide receiver Cooper Kupp after his seven-step post route went wrong as he challenged Seahawks corner Shaquill Griffin into the red zone Week 10.

“ACL is just a term in sports that — everyone knows about it — they know the implications of it,” Kupp said, well-framed and looking just right of the camera in episode one of theRams.com’s Behind the Grind season two.

“Griffin was on the outside, so I kind of tried to burst him vertical because he was kind of sitting on the route, burst him vertical and get him going, and as soon as I put my foot in the ground, he was able to kind of collision me a little bit and — leg hit the ground and it obviously didn’t feel good. Something was wrong.”

Kupp was writhing on the L.A. Coliseum’s turf, accompanied by Rams trainers and his head coach. It wasn’t his aggravated MCL from Week 6 in Denver — it wasn’t a lingering bone bruise.

It was a torn ACL and the end of Kupp’s second professional season. The 9-1 Rams turned to Kansas City on Monday Night Football with their dangerous pass-catching trio of Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods dwindled to a duo. Kupp’s final 2018 statline read: 40 receptions, 566 yards, and a career-high six touchdowns — in eight games.

“So as you go through that moving forward — ‘How can I get this thing right?’” Kupp interrupted himself, before answering with his next breath.

“As you are moving forward, it’s never looking back.”

Four months since his left ACL was surgically repaired, Kupp moves around the Rams’ weight room in Thousand Oaks, Calif. with comfort — almost as if he’s been in the weight room for four months.

He’s taking on the facility’s machinery, dumbbells, and barbells with focus. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Eastern Washington product has missed out on practices, meetings, game days, and a run at the Lombardi Trophy with his teammates, but he’s hardly left the weight room.

Not long after the non-contact injury in November, Kupp was back to work. He requested workouts from team doctor Reggie Scott and committed to a season with a different brand of teammates in rehabilitation/athletic training assistant Byron Cunningham, and assistant strength and conditioning coach Dustin Woods.

High-energy workouts and upper-body attention have kept Kupp’s football-fueled heart rate pumping and seem to have added to his slot-receiver frame since the November 11th injury. He’s dedicated year two to year three, but at the four-month mark and just a month past Super Bowl LIII, he’s turned a page.

“I feel good. I don’t think we like to talk about being on pace or off pace, ahead or behind or anything like that, but I think I’m where I’m supposed to be,” Kupp said, after decleating for just the third time since mid November. “Now, to get back on the field and put cleats on for the first time since the injury, it feels like it really just kind of refreshes things and gives me some new motivation to be able to go attack this thing.”

“I wouldn’t necessarily say he is on time or on pace. Kupp is right where he needs to be,” Cunningham said after Kupp’s third day running since the injury. “He’s doing a phenomenal job with his rehab. He’s a great listener, pays attention to detail and he’s a hard worker and that makes my job so much easier.”