When the Rams were approved for relocation to Los Angeles, there was a prevailing assumption they’d want to coronate their re-entry into L.A. with big splashy moves to grab headlines, capture attention and spark enthusiasm.
Think the Dodgers when Guggenheim Baseball Management took over and immediately added significant payroll and buzz with the acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, among others.
It was a fair assumption given how the stage the Rams are climbing in L.A. has been dark for more than 20 years.
But it was ultimately flawed.
While the Rams absolutely want to capture L.A.’s imagination, they prefer it be on the field, not through headlines. And whatever they do, it needs to be with the big picture in mind.
“You can’t think short term because short term, by definition, is short,” said Rams general manager Les Snead. “You’re always thinking long term and what’s best, what’s sustainable.”
That was the approach Snead and the Rams took through through first wave of free agency, choosing to focus on retaining their own players rather than spend big money on outside additions. And keeping in mind the need to preserve cap room flexibility to retain some of their future free agents.
“What we had to think about this year, going into free agency, is we had four pretty good players that were targeted by a lot of teams – our two corners, Rodney (McLeod) and (Mark) Barron, so you’ve got to plan for, you want to keep them but you also have a group of guys that are going to come up next year, and then a group of guys that are coming up the following year. So you’re always thinking about that.
“So yes, we’d like to keep all four of those guys but to be able to do that, there’s only a certain amount you can spend because you don’t want to get into a situation where you get into next year and you’re saying, well, we can’t keep him. So it’s tough.”
That doesn’t mean the Rams are opposed to going outside the organization to add an impact player – especially with such an obvious need to improve the offense – but they won’t do it gratuitously simply to capture a headline or create a buzz.
“You want to spend (money) wisely, and if we didn’t spend it (on someone in particular) we felt is was the wise thing to do. But we’re still well aware of, whatever our stats are on offense and you start from there and move down the list, we know we have to improve in that area. And if it wasn’t in free agency, hopefully it’s the draft. And if it’s not the draft, then it’s got to come from within. It’s got to be, look, they aren’t calling the games off, we need to figure this out. But we’re well aware that to get where we want to be we need to go from the 30’s in scoring points to a lot better.”