Could reunions become a part of the 2023 redemption theme for the Los Angeles Rams?
Along with addressing the current contracts of some key members of the 2022 team, the Rams are being urged by Karl Rasmussen of Clutch Points on Monday, January 16 to look into bringing in past impact players who are set to enter the March free agency cycle. Among them? A member of Sean McVay‘s first NFC championship team in Cory Littleton, who earned his only Pro Bowl nomination as a Ram.
“A reunion with Cory Littleton could be just what the Rams need to improve the linebackers’ department,” Rasmussen writes. “Littleton didn’t have the best season with the Carolina Panthers, featuring in 15 games and starting seven, but perhaps returning to L.A. could be exactly what he needs in order to rediscover his best form.”
Littleton Became Impactful Defender for NFL’s Best Defense in ’18 Run
Such a move will put Littleton back in the city where he hit his most success — plus got his first Super Bowl taste.
“Littleton would be familiar with the system in L.A., having spent four seasons with the Rams, including his lone Pro Bowl campaign back in 2018, during which he recorded 125 tackles and had a career-high 4.0 sacks with 13 pass defenses,” Rasmussen said.
Littleton never got the chance to play in the Pro Bowl due to earning a trip to Atlanta to face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. He was once part of a defensive unit spearheaded by widely-regarded defensive mind Wade Phillips and had Aaron Donald emerging as the NFL’s sack leader with 20.5 — earning him NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. As the left inside linebacker, Littleton ended up leading the defense with 13 pass deflections and the LB unit in sacks that season. He also tied for second on the team in interceptions and took one back to the end zone.
The 29-year-old then put together two career-best marks in tackles with 134 and fumble recoveries with four during his last season of his one-year, $3,095,000 deal with the Rams. He went on to sign a blockbuster three-year, $35,250,000 contract with the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2020 offseason.
Littleton, however, never matched his 2018 output in the Silver and Black. He delivered no more than 98 tackles in his two seasons in Sin City. He additionally only recovered one fumble and never picked off a pass while there. Then in Charlotte, he ended up with 47 total tackles with 28 solo stops and 0.5 sacks. But he had his best outing against the Rams on October 16, 2022 through 10 tackles and six solo stops.
Could Littleton be Considered a Depth Move?
While he’s had a decline since his departure from the Rams, perhaps he can pull a similar move a fellow teammate of his from that 2018 season Troy Hill did: Return to the “Rams House.”
Hill, in his return to L.A., started in 12 games this past season and delivered one interception with four pass deflections. But with Littleton being a natural inside ‘backer, it would mean likely backing up Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones — both of whom were the only Rams who surpassed the 100-tackle mark in 2022. Also in that ILB room is Christian Rozeboom, but he’s an exclusive rights free agent for 2023. Rasmussen still sees a fit in getting Littleton back in L.A as a depth move.
“Littleton may not be the same player he was four seasons ago, but he could provide some depth at the position as Ernest Jones continues to develop, lining up opposite Bobby Wagner,” he said.