Rams Rumors

Darrell Henderson Underwent Surgery

  • The Rams are beginning a new era at running back, having cut five-year starter Todd Gurley. Darrell Henderson will be one of the players vying for the starting job. The second-year back, however, underwent ankle surgery this offseason, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. This issue may be behind him, with Rodrigue adding that Henderson has already participated in multiple Jared Goff-conducted throwing sessions (Twitter link). Henderson, Malcolm Brown and rookie second-rounder Cam Akers represent the top options in Los Angeles’ backfield.

This Date In Transactions History: Rams Sign No. 1 Overall Pick Jared Goff

Four years ago today, the Rams officially signed No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. The Rams were happy to sign the promising young Cal product to a four-year, $28MM deal in accordance with his slot, though they paid a hefty price for the right to draft him in the first place. 

[RELATED: This Date In Transactions History: 49ers Trade Issac Bruce To The Rams]

After a classic Jeff Fisher middle-of-the-pack season, the Rams came into the offseason with the No. 15 overall pick and a major crush on Goff. A couple weeks before the draft, they pried the top choice away from the Titans with a Godfather offer, a package that included two 2016 second-round picks, plus 2017 first- and third-round choices.

Goff wasn’t everyone’s preferred quarterback in that class, but the Rams saw Goff as a more polished passer than North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. It was hard to argue with Goff’s potential – he threw for nearly 8,700 combined yards and 78 touchdowns during his final two college seasons. And, in his final year, he established new personal watermarks by completing 64.5% of his passes and throwing for 4,714 yards and 43 TDs.

With Goff under center, the Rams reached the Super Bowl following the 2018 season. After Goff threw for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in the regular season and brought them to a snoozer of a championship game, the Rams rewarded him with a four-year, $134MM deal with $110MM guaranteed. Goff’s 2019 showing has raised some question marks about his second contract, but the Rams can’t complain about his first deal.

In keeping with team tradition, the Rams also signed the rest of their entire 2016 draft class on this same day. Thanks to the blockbuster deal to get Goff, the Rams’ next pick didn’t come until the fourth round at No. 110 overall, when they selected the troubled-yet-talented Tyler Higbee, a tight end out of Western Kentucky. In October of last year, the remainder of the class looked pretty unremarkable. But, after Higbee’s incredible finish last year, the Rams’ report card deserves a revised grade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: 49ers Trade Issac Bruce To The Rams

On this date in 2010, the 49ers traded Issac Bruce to the Rams. However, this wasn’t a typical trade. The deal was facilitated in order to allow Bruce, then 37, to retire with his original franchise. 

Bruce started his career with the Rams in 1994, the team’s final season in Los Angeles. The second-round pick played sparingly as a rookie, but he broke out as an NFL sophomore in St. Louis with 119 catches, 1,781 yards, and 13 touchdowns, all of which went down as his career bests. In his 14 illustrious years with the Rams, Bruce amassed four Pro Bowl trips and eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in eight different seasons.

Sixteen years was enough for me,” Bruce said at his farewell press conference. “I think a lot was done. But that second training camp practice (in two-a-days) may have played a part in it. I was ready to move on and do something else other than playing football.”

After so many productive seasons in the NFL, Bruce had little left to prove. Bruce was the leading wide receiver in the Rams’ “Greatest Show On Turf” Super Bowl-winning season and left the team as its all-time receiving leader with 14,109 yards. His second act with the Niners was not quite as flashy with 835 yards in his first SF season and 264 yards in his 2009 finale.

The two years I was away, I kept tabs on this organization,” Bruce said. “I played against this organization, I played against its players. The funny thing is I found myself encouraging them when things didn’t look bright for them. I looked down and saw myself in a different colored uniform. It was honestly just to me personally — it just wasn’t right.

So, with the trade, Bruce returned back to the Rams and became the last member of the Rams’ first Los Angeles run to hang ’em up. Later, his No. 80 jersey was retired by the team. Bruce was denied entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame multiple times, but he was finally enshrined in 2020, after six years of eligibility.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets, Falcons, Rams, Bears To Gain Cap Room Via Post-June 1 Cuts

The Bears, Falcons, Jets, and Rams will gain additional cap space starting Tuesday, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. The extra flexibility comes from the following releases that have been designated as post-June 1 cuts: 

Players released after June 1 can have their remaining cap charge spread out across two seasons, rather than one. These four players were released earlier this year, but designated as post-June 1 cuts to smooth out the dead money.

For these teams, a chunk of this money will go towards funding the incoming rookie class. However, there will still be some room left over for summer upgrades, thanks to the top-51 rule. In the case of the Falcons, they’ll have about $8.25MM to spend, as Kevin Knight of The Falcoholic notes.

The additional space could jumpstart talks for June’s best remaining free agents, a group that includes defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Logan Ryan, and guard Larry Warford. The Jets probably won’t go for Clowney, but they’ve shown serious interest in Ryan and Warford would make some sense for them if they want to upgrade over Brian Winters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Rams, Ramsey, Seahawks, 49ers

On Tuesday, Rams star Jalen Ramsey confirmed that he won’t hold out this year if he doesn’t get the new deal that he’s seeking. Meanwhile, head coach Sean McVay tells reporters that he has every intention of keeping the standout cornerback for the long haul.

We went and got this guy with the hope that it’s not a short-time thing,” McVay said (Twitter link via Andrew Siciliano of NFL.com). “I sure hope he’s not leaving.”

McVay went on to say that he sees Ramsey as the type of player who can reset the market as his position (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jordan Rodrigue). Currently, Darius Slay is the leader in the CB clubhouse with an average annual value of $16.7MM. As McVay suggests, Ramsey’s AAV could easily exceed $17MM, even though he was less-than-stellar in his half-season with L.A.

Here’s more out of the NFC West:

  • Speaking of Ramsey, new Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley intends to move him around this year by giving him some reps in the slot and possibly at safety (via Rodrigue). “He’s got command of all the positions in the defensive backfield,” Staley said. “You know, I do not look at him just as a corner. I look at him as a (defensive back). This guy can do anything. He thinks like a quarterback.”
  • Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times would be surprised if the Seahawks didn’t add a veteran lineman or two before the start of the season. As it stands, the Seahawks are set to trot out a defensive end rotation of Rasheem Green/Benson Mayowa/rookie Darrell Taylor plus Poona Ford and Jarran Reed on the interior. The defensive end group, in particular, could use some reinforcements. With Quinton Jefferson in Buffalo and Jadeveon Clowney unlikely to be re-signed, GM John Schneider will probably be scanning the market for the next few months. On the plus side, the return of Bruce Irvin should help in the edge rushing department, but Pete Carroll has him listed as a linebacker.
  • The 49ers might not have world-class depth in their secondary group, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic isn’t overly concerned with how the depth chart looks behind Richard Sherman, Jaquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward, and the rest of the starters. However, if they do look to make an upgrade in that area, strong safety could be worth a look. As it stands, Marcell Harris is the only backup who has previous experience in SF’s scheme.
  • The Cardinals are keeping an eye on former Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. He’s provide experience to Arizona’s young DE group, not to mention an impressive track record of getting to the quarterback. The 32-year-old has 74.5 career sacks to his credit.

Jalen Ramsey Won’t Skip Training Camp

Jalen Ramsey is seeking a contract extension, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to hold out. The Rams cornerback told reporters that he’ll attend training camp without a new contract (via ESPN’s Lindsay Thiry on Twitter).

[RELATED: Extension Candidate: Rams CB Jalen Ramsey]

“The Rams know where I stand, they’ve been in contact with my agent, they know what’s up,” Ramsey told reporters.

Back in October, the Rams sent a pair of firsts and a fourth-rounder to Jacksonville for the defensive back. Ramsey ended up getting into nine games (eight starts) for his new team, compiling 33 tackles, four passes defended, one forced fumble, and one interception. The 25-year-old ultimately earned his third-straight Pro Bowl appearance.

Ramsey will earn $13.7MM in 2020 thanks to the Jaguars’ (predictable) decision to pick up his fifth-year option. As our own Zach Links recently pointed out, Ramsey’s agents will surely be eyeing Darius Slay‘s $16.7MM average annual value, and they could point to Byron Jones and his $46MM in full guarantees and $54.4MM in effective guarantees.

The Rams don’t have a whole lot of financial flexibility, but they could always turn to the franchise tag next offseason. In that scenario, there’s a chance that Ramsey could end up holding out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extension Candidate: Rams CB Jalen Ramsey

Just before last year’s trade deadline, the Rams swung a blockbuster deal to land Jalen Ramsey. Now, they have some more negotiating to do as Ramsey enters the final year of his contract.

[RELATED: Will The Cardinals Trade Reddick?]

Ramsey, 26 in October, is set to earn $13.7MM in 2020, a figure dictated by his fifth-year option. The expected market will dictate his rate on this go ’round, which means that he’s probably due for a raise. Before Ramsey arrived in Los Angeles, he had his sights set on a deal that would reset the market. Despite an iffy year, Ramsey still figures to play in that ballpark.

Between his three games with the Jaguars and nine games with the Rams, Ramsey recorded just 50 tackles and one interception. The former No. 5 overall pick did not play up to his usual standards, but the fact remains that Ramsey is one of the league’s most talented cornerbacks and any team would be happy to back up a Brinks truck for him.

Currently, Darius Slay stands as the league’s highest-paid cornerback on a per-year basis with an average annual salary of $16.7MM. Meanwhile, Byron Jones of the Dolphins leads corners in full guarantees ($46MM) and effective guarantees ($54.4MM). It’s safe to say that Ramsey’s reps will have all of those numbers handy when it comes time to talk.

The Rams, meanwhile, would be willing to toss figures around in that ballpark, though their lack of cap room makes it a bit tricky. It would be tough for the Rams to tamp down Ramsey’s 2020 hit while also giving him $17MM/year to top Slay. Meanwhile, there isn’t a lot of fat left to trim. They could carve out another $3.6MM for Ramsey by releasing Troy Hill, but that would also leave ~$900K in dead money and little room for extra improvements. A restructuring of Aaron Donald‘s deal could give them more dollars to work with – similar to what Jared Goff did recently – but that would also create a snowball effect on future cap years.

Ramsey promised the team that he wouldn’t hold out in 2020 if he didn’t have a new deal in place, though he won’t necessarily cooperate with the Rams if he’s franchise tagged for 2021. Without that safety net in place, the Rams will have to find middle ground with their star cornerback sooner rather than later.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.