After winning the Super Bowl, multiple members of the Los Angeles Rams, including head coach Sean McVay, expressed the desire to run it back and attempt to win it all again with the same crew.
In addition, left tackle Andrew Whitworth decided to call it quits.
It made some observers question whether the Rams could really pull off back-to-back world championships.
But now, the team has signed star inside linebacker Bobby Wagner to a five year deal worth $50 million.
At least for now, his addition makes the Rams the odds-on favorite to reach the Super Bowl again.
Wagner Fills A Need
While Aaron Donald (who is not sure he will return) is an elite pass rusher and cornerback Jalen Ramsey helps shrink the field, the Rams needed some kind of impact presence at linebacker with Miller gone and the loss of incumbent inside linebacker Troy Reeder.
L.A. had success in the playoffs by pressuring opposing quarterbacks, especially Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the Super Bowl.
Wagner has been one of the NFL’s premier defensive players over the past several years, with eight Pro Bowl and six All-Pro First-Team selections to his name.
As an inside linebacker, he will be that “queen on the chessboard” that will allow the Rams to have a commanding defense that wreaks havoc on opponents.
— Overtime (@overtime) March 31, 2022
Last season, he recorded 170 tackles (93 solo) for the Seattle Seahawks, a team that he helped win the Super Bowl several years ago.
That experience and leadership will also be a huge boon for the current champs.
At age 31 (he will turn 32 during training camp), perhaps he has declined a bit, but the presence of Donald (if he returns) and Ramsey will take the pressure off him to be great all the time.
The Rams Will Still Be Potent On Offense
With Wagner mucking up opposing offenses, it will take the pressure off the Rams’ own offense, but the reality is that it should still be one of the league’s best units on that side of the ball.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford had a career season with 4,886 yards and 41 touchdown passes, and even though he is now 34 years of age, there are no signs that he will slow down any time soon.
Wideout Cooper Kupp exploded in 2021, posting 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns, and his speed while running routes or adding yards after catches is something to behold.
"Oh my GOD, Cooper Kupp!"
— NFL (@NFL) August 10, 2020
If Odell Beckham Jr. re-signs with the Rams and continues to play well after another ACL injury, he will make their offense that much more explosive.
Running back Sony Michel is a free agent, but if he and the Rams come to terms on a new contract, he will once again give them a solid threat on the ground.
With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing a few key contributors and the San Francisco 49ers’ QB situation murky, the Rams will probably be the class of the NFC once again in 2022.