Rams Rumors

Lions Negotiating With Domata Peko

Free agent Domata Peko told TMZ Sports that he met with the Lions last week. The defensive tackle added that he “had a nice visit” in Detroit and that his agent is “trying to work some stuff out” for a contract. 

Peko also indicated that he would be interested in joining the Rams, though it’s not clear if that interest is being reciprocated.

I would like to be with Aaron Donald, man,” Peko says … “Hell yeah! That would be dope.”

Peko spent the first eleven years of his career with the Bengals before joining the Broncos on a two-year, $7.5MM deal in 2017. Over the past two seasons, Peko has only missed two games, racking up 44 tackles (eight for loss) during that time frame. In 2018, Pro Football Focus ranked Peko as the No. 39 interior defender among 112 qualifiers.

Peko wouldn’t necessarily start for the Lions, but he could be a solid rotational piece for the team’s defensive front. He’d also give the team some extra firepower as Trey Flowers continues to rehab from shoulder surgery and Damon Harrison stays away from the club amidst his contract dispute.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Todd Gurley's Knee Problem

Todd Gurley‘s limited offseason (and the Rams‘ cryptic remarks on their All-Pro running back’s injured knee) has created some uncertainty about how the fifth-year player will be used this season and if he will be as healthy as he looked to start last season. A March report indicated Gurley is dealing with arthritis in his knee, and while Gurley nor the Rams confirmed that, his trainer did. But Travelle Gaines does not believe Gurley’s limitations now, which have induced an individualized workout plan, should point to the 24-year-old runner being on a pitch count when the Rams’ playoff push ensues.

  • Moving back to the Rams, their defensive line will have a new starter — after Ndamukong Suh‘s free agency departure — and one of their rookies may be tabbed for the job. Fourth-round defensive tackle Greg Gaines may be the frontrunner to start at Los Angeles’ nose spot, Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The 300-plus-pound Gaines played alongside Vita Vea at Washington in 2017 and in 2018 recorded a career-high 4.5 sacks.

Latest On Extensions For Rams’ Jared Goff, Sean McVay

We heard earlier this month that the Rams are eyeing a 2020 extension for quarterback Jared Goff, who is entering his fourth year in the league. Goff has thrived under the tutelage of head coach Sean McVay, who recently threw his full support behind his signal-caller, and it seems like only a matter of time before Goff lands a nine-figure contract.

So, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk asks, why wait? Goff, a two-time Pro Bowler who led his team to the Super Bowl last season, is not going to get any less expensive, especially since his draft mate, Carson Wentz, just signed a four-year, $128MM pact despite suffering significant injuries in each of the past two seasons. Florio observes that Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are other young QBs eligible for a second contract that have not yet gotten one, but neither player has accomplished as much as Goff (plus, both of them are making over $20MM this year under their fifth-year options). Like Goff and Wentz, Dak Prescott was a 2016 draft choice, but at least he and the Cowboys are talking.

As Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times writes, GM Les Snead and Goff’s representation have been in touch, but they have only had preliminary discussions about a possible timeline for future talks. In other words, the two sides are talking about when they’re going to talk. Snead said, “Nothing heavy. No heavy lifting.”

Rams officials have indicated they could get a deal done with Goff prior to the 2019 campaign, but considering where the parties are in contract talks, the 2020 timeframe seems more plausible at this point. Like McVay, though, Snead said he is fully committed to Goff.

McVay himself could get an extension soon, and a report back in January suggested that could happen this offseason, but it sounds like those talks have not commenced. When asked whether the club was pursuing an extension for McVay, COO Kevin Demoff indicated he was focused on extending certain key players first.

Both Demoff and Snead declined to comment on Snead’s contract situation, but if things continue on their current trajectory, the Snead-McVay-Goff trifecta could be in LA for the long haul.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Gurley Downplays Knee Issues

One of the biggest stories of this NFL offseason has been the drama surrounding Todd Gurley‘s knee. Gurley clearly wasn’t right down the stretch last season, and C.J. Anderson ended up taking the bulk of the Rams’ running back snaps during their Super Bowl run. Gurley’s health has been clouded in secrecy, with conflicting reports emerging seemingly every week. We’ve heard everything from Gurley having arthritis in his knee and it being degenerative, to him being just fine. Gurley stayed away from the team’s OTAs so he wasn’t available to reporters, but he finally broke his silence this week at minicamp.

Gurley tried to quell any concern at his press conference, saying “I had bigger problems to worry about coming out of college. This is small,” per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Gurley is presumably referring to the ACL tear that he had coming out of Georgia. While it’s nice to hear that Gurley doesn’t sound too concerned, it doesn’t mean we should expect him to be a workhorse in 2019. The Rams raised a lot of eyebrows by drafting Memphis running back Darrell Henderson in the third round back in April, and it’s very likely they’ll take it easy with Gurley early on to keep him fresh for a playoff run.

Sean McVay Fully Commits To Jared Goff

Rams quarterback Jared Goff still has two years left on his rookie deal, but there’s already been at least some speculation that Los Angeles could move on from its signal-caller at the end of his contract rather than venture into $30MM+ per year territory. But speaking to Mike Silver of NFL.com, Rams head coach Sean McVay fully threw his weight behind Goff as LA’s long-term starter.

“Whether it ends up happening this year or next year, there is a zero percent chance this guy’s not gonna get an extension he’s worthy of,” said McVay. “All the narratives out there are wrong. Jared and I couldn’t be more connected, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of him as our leader. He is so vital and important to us and our success. That extension will get done. It’s a matter of when, not if.”

Goff, 24, is coming off a stellar campaign in which he threw for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions while earning a Pro Bowl nod and a trip to the Super Bowl. However, the idea of letting Goff walk in free agency — or trading him before his contract expires — has at least come up as a topic of conversation, with the reasoning that the former No. 1 overall pick is simply a by-product of McVay’s offensive system. Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com examined the possibility of a club trading its starting quarterback (and specifically used Goff as an example) in a September 2018 piece.

The most obvious comparison for a Goff extension would be the four-year, $128MM deal Carson Wentz signed with the Eagles last week. But the Rams don’t seem to be interested in giving Goff a new deal immediately, as team COO Kevin Demoff recently indicated Los Angeles will likely wait until next offseason to work on a Goff pact.

I don’t want this to sound hollow, but I don’t think (the Wentz extension) affects our conversations that much,” Demoff said. “It’s been reported for a few months that the Eagles and Carson were talking about a contract. We were well aware of that, and they seem to be on a different timetable. I think people mistake timeline and getting deals done with multiple years left for commitment.”

Goff is set to count for roughly $8.889MM in 2019 before his salary balloons to $22.783MM in 2020, courtesy of his fifth-year option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Blake Bortles Expects To Become Starting QB Again

After a mostly disappointing tenure with the Jaguars, who made him the No. 3 overall pick of the 2014 draft, Blake Bortles was released by Jacksonville in March and caught on with the Rams a week later. Los Angeles obviously has Jared Goff entrenched as its starting QB, but Bortles expects to become a starting signal-caller in the NFL once again, as Kevin Patra of NFL.com writes.

Of course, one wouldn’t expect Bortles, 27, to say anything different. He understands that he will serve as Goff’s clipboard holder in 2019, but as a five-year starter, a former first-round draft pick, and a collegiate standout, his competitive fire is doubtlessly still burning. But if he does get another opportunity to start in the NFL, he is going to have to fight for it.

In that sense, landing with the Rams was probably the best possible scenario for Bortles. LA head coach Sean McVay has already developed a reputation as a quarterback whisperer, and if Bortles can put together some quality tape this preseason, it’s certainly possible that a club with an uncertain QB situation in 2020 would at least give Bortles a real chance at competing for a starting gig.

Bortles is already impressed with the 33-year-old HC. He said, “[s]eeing how [McVay] coaches, how all the other coaches coach and how the guys are receptive and take it, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Bortles added, “at the same time, I also expect to be a starter in this league again, and I know it’s not going to be here in L.A. So I’m trying to just better myself. … And if I get an opportunity to play, great. If not, then I spent a year learning from McVay, and being around a really good organization.”

Bortles will make just $1MM with the Rams this year, a far cry from the $5.5MM in base pay he was due to collect from the Jaguars. But he does have over $40MM in career earnings to date, so he won’t be hurting too badly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Eyeing 2020 Jared Goff Extension?

The only player picked ahead of Carson Wentz in the 2016 draft will naturally shift to the forefront now that the Eagles and Wentz finalized their extension agreement. If the Rams are on the clock, they might be there for a while.

When asked Friday on a Jared Goff timetable, Rams COO Kevin Demoff said (video link via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com) said the team’s goal on this front will be to assess this situation during the 2020 offseason. Two years remain on the 24-year-old passer’s deal.

I don’t want this to sound hollow, but I don’t think (the Wentz extension) affects our conversations that much,” Demoff said, via Thiry. “It’s been reported for a few months that the Eagles and Carson were talking about a contract. We were well aware of that, and they seem to be on a different timetable. I think people mistake timeline and getting deals done with multiple years left for commitment.

This franchise is committed to Jared Goff. Your love for a player and how badly you want him doesn’t always come down to when they sign.”

Sean McVay also said recently (via Thiry) he is confident Goff will be the Rams’ quarterback for a “very long time,” despite the former No. 1 overall pick arriving during Jeff Fisher‘s final season. But the Rams’ recent run of re-ups — chief among them deals for Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks — will make a 2019 Goff accord more difficult. Additionally, the Rams have Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Dante Fowler and Andrew Whitworth in contract years. Their cap space spikes from $6MM-plus to $54MM-plus (projected) between now and the 2020 offseason.

I think the numbers would be tough, quite frankly,” Demoff said regarding a Goff extension being completed before this season.

Wentz’s deal included a $32MM new-money average and $66MM in full guarantees — fourth and fifth among quarterbacks, respectively. Goff has not been a late-season MVP candidate like Wentz was in 2017, but he is two years younger, coming off two Pro Bowls and has no significant injury history. This moving into the 2020 offseason would stand to point to Goff eclipsing Wentz’s numbers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Issac Bruce

On this date in 2010, the 49ers shipped Issac Bruce to the Rams. However, this wasn’t an ordinary trade. The deal was facilitated in order to allow Bruce, 37 at the time, 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 for the third time in 2019, but he remains a candidate for induction down the road.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Wrap Entire Draft Class

And just like that, the Rams’ entire draft class has been signed. After inking three of their rookies on Friday morning, the Rams following up by signing third-round running back Darrell Henderson, third-round cornerback David Long, third-round tackle Bobby Evans, fourth-round defensive tackle Greg Gaines, and fifth-round tackle David Edwards

Second-round safety Taylor Rapp was the highest-selected player in the Rams’ rookie class, but most of the attention is on Henderson, who rushed for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 214 carries last year. His 8.9 yards per rush was no fluke, as he posted the exact same average as a sophomore in 2017. Henderson could see a decent amount of work behind star Todd Gurley and he’ll really be in the limelight if Gurley’s knee issues remerge in 2019.

Here’s the full rundown of the Rams’ draft class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Sign Second-Round Pick Taylor Rapp

In recent years, the Rams have been the last team to start signing their incoming rookies. On Friday, they finally put a dent in their draft class by signing second-round safety Taylor Rapp as well as seventh-round picks Nick Scott and Dakota Allen

Rapp, a University of Washington product, notched 59 tackles, six tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions, and three fumble recoveries last season. In his first year with the Rams, he’s expected to support starters Eric Weddle and John Johnson.

Rapp profiled as one of the best open-field tackling safeties in this year’s class and has a strong football IQ for a player of his age. After he opened his collegiate career with four interceptions but saw that number tail off with time, it’ll be interesting to see if he has a nose for the ball at the pro level.

With Rapp, Scott, and Allen signed, the Rams are left with five unsigned rookies to go, as shown in PFR’s tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.