The time has officially come for NFL teams to trim their rosters to 53 players. As such, we saw a flurry of players waived, traded, and released as they try to catch on elsewhere around the league or get signed to the practice squad.
The Los Angeles Rams made a few surprising cuts, including pass-catcher Jacob Harris. Still, with the mass exodus of talent across the league, some players might be hanging around that could merit a phone call.
General manager Les Snead is always on the hunt for additional talent, so he could have a busy couple of days as he sorts through the cuts. Unfortunately, the Rams are unlikely to land any players via the waiver wire (they are last in the order), so they will need to wait for them to clear before signing them to a deal.
Let’s look at four offensive players the Rams could consider adding to their roster before Week 1 kicks off.
TE O.J. Howard
O.J. Howard’s journey in the NFL has been surprising. After an impressive career at Alabama, he landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Howard had 60 catches for 997 yards and 11 touchdowns combined in his first two seasons and looked every bit like a starting tight end. But, the addition of Rob Gronkowski and many other weapons caused a massive hit to Howard’s numbers.
In 2021, he caught just 14 passes for 135 yards and one score. In the offseason, he signed a deal with the Buffalo Bills but was released as Dawson Knox has run away with the starting job. But, the Bills stunned everybody by releasing him and losing money.
Brycen Hopkins is the current backup to Tyler Higbee. While Howard isn’t a true blocking tight end, he would provide Sean McVay and the offense with another weapon — and a big insurance policy if Higbee ever needed to miss time.
It might be worth a flier.
RB Marlon Mack
The Houston Texans surprised everybody by releasing veteran running back Marlon Mack as part of roster cut day. Dameon Pierce has run away with the starting job, and new head coach Lovie Smith felt no need for Mack on the roster.
Mack’s past few years have been on and off, and he was pegged early on as a potential starter with the Texans before Pierce came out and impressed in training camp.
Indeed a surprise. Seemed Marlon Mack was getting his old explosiveness back after dealing with injuries.pic.twitter.com/fa6QAw64K2
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 30, 2022
The Rams have a solid 1-2 punch of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson. However, both of these guys are fragile, and rookie Kyren Williams is the only other back on the roster. Jake Funk is also on the roster, so if the Rams did sign Mack, it would likely mean Funk heads to the practice squad.
OT Alex Leatherwood
The Las Vegas Raiders swung and missed significant time on this draft choice. In the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Raiders selected Alex Leatherwood 17th overall. So, it isn’t very often that a former first-round pick gets cut. Moreover, a first-round choice rarely gets cut one year after being drafted.
Yet, here we are. The Raiders reportedly worked the phones for a trade, and nobody bit. On the other hand, there has to be at least one team who wants to put in a waiver claim on Leatherwood.
There are plenty of reasons why Leatherwood was a first-round choice, and although he had a rough time with the Raiders, maybe a change of scenery will do him well. The Rams have the talent on offense to let Leatherwood sit back and learn the ropes.
TE Anthony Firkser
Yes, the Rams only have two tight ends on the roster, which is surprising. It seems unlikely that they enter the season with just Higbee and Hopkins, although you never really know what is happening in LA.
So, why not kick the tires on Anthony Firkser? The former Tennessee Titans tight end signed a deal with the Atlanta Falcons but could not stick on the roster. With Kyle Pitts far and away the top tight end in Atlanta, the Falcons let go of Firkser in a surprising move.
In 2021, Firkser had 34 catches for 291 yards and two scores with the Titans. The veteran still has plenty left in the tank and is a decent blocker.
The Rams don’t necessarily need to make a move, but the tight end position is one awfully-thin room at SoFi Stadium.