Refreshed-looking Sean McVay ‘confident’ and ‘committed’ to rebooting Rams
The uncharacteristically mussed hair and the pained, anxiety-ridden grimace were long gone.
Early Friday morning, as he spoke with reporters for the first time since the day after his team’s disastrous 2022 season ended, Rams coach Sean McVay’s perfectly coiffed gelled spike was back in full effect. He wore an easy, relaxed smile and comfortable yoga gear.
It has been two months since McVay, 37, said he would step back and take time to reflect and ponder whether he would coach in 2023 — a decision he reached in less than a week.
Now, on the eve of NFL free agency and about a month from the start of offseason workouts and the draft, the bearded McVay looked and sounded refreshed.
And ready to leave behind speculation about his future.
The Rams, in another major move to cut costs, plan to release edge rusher Leonard Floyd on Friday, people with knowledge of the situation said.
“I’m really committed to not having this become a story every year,” McVay, from his home office, said during a 45-minute videoconference, “because I know that’s something that people are asking or wondering. ...
“There was never a doubt whether you wanted to coach again. It’s really just, ‘Are you going to be able to have the appropriate perspective to be the best version of yourself for the players and the coaches?’
“I feel confident that can exist moving forward. But it is exciting because of all the different things that we have ahead of us.”
NFL rosters turn over every year. But because of the Rams’ salary-cap issues — they are about $16 million over the $224.8-million cap — and a philosophical shift, there will be more than the usual high-profile deletions and probably limited, if any, high-profile additions for the first time since McVay was hired in 2017.
On Friday, two weeks after releasing veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Rams released edge rusher Leonard Floyd.
Floyd, 30, was scheduled to carry a salary-cap number of $22 million, according to Overthecap.com. Releasing Floyd before June 1 saves the Rams $3 million in cap space, but it comes with a $19-million dead-money hit, according to the website.
Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and receiver Allen Robinson also could be traded or released.
A few hours before Floyd’s release, McVay was asked if he anticipated that Floyd, Ramsey and Allen would be on the roster next week.
”...We’re excited about rolling our sleeves up, getting to work and figuring out how we can be as competitive as possible.”
— Sean McVay, on the 2023 Rams
“Those are all fluid situations,” he said. “We’ve had dialogue with those guys about, you know, what the possibilities are.
“You want to keep some of those conversations in-house, but you also don’t want people getting caught off guard.”
General manager Les Snead said Thursday that quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Aaron Donald remain “weight-bearing walls” of the roster. All three players are coming off injuries that kept them sidelined for the latter part of a 5-12 season, the worst year-after performance by a Super Bowl champion in NFL history.
Rams general manager Les Snead wouldn’t reveal what the team’s plans are for Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd and Allen Robinson ahead of NFL free agency.
“What I need from them is them to be able to enjoy every day and play to the best of their ability and not feel like they have to bear any more weight than what they’re capable of,” McVay said, adding, “It’s more about let’s figure out how we can, you know, surround them with the best players to be able to accentuate their skill sets.”
The Rams have 18 players who will become unrestricted free agents Wednesday, the start of the NFL’s new league year. They include cornerbacks Troy Hill and David Long, safeties Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott and every specialist.
Asked Friday if the Rams had interest in signing free-agent receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Robert Woods, McVay said it would be “silly” not to and that “those are situations that we’ll absolutely monitor.” Hours after McVay spoke, NFL Network reported Woods reached a two-year deal with the Houston Texans.
Beckham reportedly was scheduled to hold a showcase Friday in Arizona to demonstrate his recovery from the knee injury he suffered during the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in February 2022.
Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Kentucky’s Will Levis are top QB prospects in NFL draft, but where they go is a mystery.
After being awarded four compensation picks Thursday, the Rams have 10 picks in the April 27-29 draft in Kansas City, Mo., 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 22-member staff, including offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn, offensive line coach Ryan Wendell and defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant, a member of the staff from 2017 to 2020.
“Similar to really when we first got here in 2017,” McVay said, “we’re excited about rolling our sleeves up, getting to work and figuring out how we can be as competitive as possible.”
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