Who will be on the Rams’ 2022 roster? A look at the contract status of the champs
The Rams will celebrate their Super Bowl victory on Wednesday with a parade — and that won’t be the only procession in the coming months.
The 2021 roster included multiple players who will become unrestricted and restricted free agents, sending many on their way to new teams.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford is entering the final year of his contract and star defensive lineman Aaron Donald is almost certainly in line for a reworked deal if he does not retire.
General manager Les Snead will not have much time to enjoy the Super Bowl victory before the new league year begins March 16.
Here is a look at the roster and how position groups could be impacted. Salary-cap numbers for 2022 per overthecap.com:
Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford ($23 million), John Wolford (exclusive rights free agent), Bryce Perkins ($825,000).
In his first season with the Rams, Stafford led them to the NFC West title and engineered late, game-winning drives in the playoffs and Super Bowl.
Stafford, 34, appears capable of performing at high level for years to come. He is line for a huge extension that will almost certainly be done before the start of next season. The only question is whether he breaks the bank or opts for a more team-friendly deal ala Tom Brady to surround himself with more talent.
If the Rams offer Wolford a one-year contract at the league minimum, he cannot negotiate with other teams.
Running backs: Cam Akers ($1.7 million), Darrell Henderson ($1.3 million), Sony Michel (unrestricted free agent), Jake Funk ($852,000).
The Rams traded for Michel, a 2018 first-round draft pick, because Akers was sidelined because of an Achilles tendon injury and the Rams had concerns about the oft-injured Henderson.
Michel carried the Rams during their five-game winning streak, but his role diminished in the playoffs after Akers returned. Henderson came back from injury for the Super Bowl and played a big role.
So, Michel appears bound for a new team.
NBC broadcaster Rodney Harrison said All-Pro Aaron Donald told him he ‘could walk away from the game and retire’ if the Rams win the Super Bowl.
Receivers: Cooper Kupp ($18.7 million), Robert Woods ($15.7 million), Odell Beckham Jr. (UFA), Van Jefferson ($1.5 million), Tutu Atwell ($1.3 million), Ben Skowronek ($846,000).
Before he suffered a knee injury in the Super Bowl, Beckham was on track for a potential huge payday on the open market if he could not work out a creative deal to remain with the Rams.
Now, both Woods and Beckham will be attempting to come back from knee injuries, which could increase Beckham’s chances of remaining with the Rams.
Tight ends: Tyler Higbee ($8 million), Johnny Mundt (UFA), Brycen Hopkins ($1.1 million), Kendall Blanton ($895,000).
Mundt did not catch many passes, but he was regarded as an integral part of the offense. With Blanton and Hopkins earning affordable salaries, the Rams will probably attempt to keep Mundt.
Offensive line: Andrew Whitworth ($17.6 million), Rob Havenstein ($9.6 million), David Edwards ($2.9 million), Brian Allen (UFA), Austin Corbett (UFA), Joe Noteboom (UFA), Bobby Evans ($1.2 million), Tremayne Anchrum Jr. ($914,000), Alaric Jackson ($832,000), Coleman Shelton (RFA).
Whitworth, 40, not only won a Super Bowl but also won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. It seems like the perfect note to go out on.
The Rams drafted Noteboom in 2018 to be Whitworth’s successor. Noteboom started when Whitworth was injured, has also started at guard and played as an extra tight end in heavy formations. His performance at tackle in the NFC divisional-round victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers no doubt raised his potential earning power on the open market.
Allen showed he was recovered from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of the previous two seasons, and Corbett has been a reliable starter for two seasons.
Defensive line: Aaron Donald ($26 million), A’Shawn Robinson ($9.5 million), Sebastian Joseph-Day (UFA), Greg Gaines ($2.6 million), Bobby Brown III ($1 million), Marquise Copeland ($825,000), Michael Hoecht ($825,000).
After the Super Bowl, Donald did not dismiss a report that he might retire. Whether or not that was a ploy to renegotiate a contract remains to be seen. But even before the Super Bowl, the Rams were anticipating reworking terms this offseason to keep the heart and soul of their team happy.
Joseph-Day played well before suffering a chest muscle injury. But Gaines stepped up in his place, so Joseph-Day is probably searching for a payday in free agency.
Inside linebackers: Ernest Jones ($1.1 million) Troy Reeder (RFA), Travin Howard (RFA), Christian Rozeboom ($825,000).
Jones became a starter midway through his rookie season.
The future of Reeder and Howard with the Rams depend on if and how the team tenders them. Reeder was an undrafted free agent in 2019, Howard a seventh-round draft pick in 2018.
Outside linebackers: Leonard Floyd ($20 million), Von Miller (UFA), Obo Okoronkwo (UFA), Terrell Lewis ($1.3 million), Justin Hollins ($965,000), Chris Garrett ($846,000).
Miller, 32, appeared to revel in his time with the Rams after he was traded by the Denver Broncos, and he won a second Super Bowl title. Coach Sean McVay has indicated that the Rams would like to retain Miller. But at what cost?
Okoronkwo appears past the injuries that slowed him early in his career, but he might opt for a greater role and contract elsewhere.
Cornerbacks: Jalen Ramsey ($23.2 million), Darious Williams (UFA), David Long ($1.2 million), Donte Deayon (UFA), Robert Rochell ($998,000), Grant Haley ($965,000).
Williams, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, played on a $4.8-million, first-round restricted free-agent tender in 2021. After intercepting four passes in 2020, he had no interceptions last season.
Deayon has been a role player for the Rams.
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Safeties: Taylor Rapp ($2.9 million), Terrell Burgess ($1.2 million), Nick Scott ($984,000), Jordan Fuller ($938,000), Jake Gervase ($895,000), Eric Weddle (retired).
Weddle, who came out of retirement before the playoffs, announced after the Super Bowl that he was retiring again.
Specialists: Punter Johnny Hekker ($3.2 million), kicker Matt Gay (RFA), snapper Matt Orzech ($965,000).
Hekker reworked his contract before last season, which helped him remain with the Rams for a 10th season after a training camp competition with Corey Bojorquez.
Gay was voted to the Pro Bowl after making 32 of 34 field-goal attempts. He made 12 of 14 attempts during the postseason.
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