Rams

Meet the new Rams – A closer look at team’s biggest offseason additions for 2018

In 2016, the Rams changed cities. In 2017, a new coach. This year, they reshaped their roster.

It’s been a dizzying offseason for the Rams, who stunned the NFL community with a series of trades and signings. In the end — this is the end, isn’t it? — the Rams maintained their strength on offense, made major upgrades on defense and looted their own stash of draft picks to make it happen.

The Rams formally will convene for the first time this month for the start of the optional offseason program, but first a couple introductory ice-breakers might be helpful.

For now, here’s a look at the five major additions the Rams have made since the last week of February:

Brandin Cooks, Receiver

Height: 5-10 Weight: 189

Age: 24

Contract status: Signed through 2018

Acquired: April 3, 2018

The price: Rams traded 2018 first- and sixth-round draft choices to the New England Patriots for Cooks and a 2018 fourth-round choice.

Analysis: When Sammy Watkins left via free agency in mid-March, the Rams publicly indicated they’d feel comfortable with an internal replacement, but really, a move like this needed to get done. Cooks is a speedy field-stretcher and a three-time 1,000-yard receiver whose presence also should open up things for teammates such as Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. The biggest question about Cooks is whether he has as strong a nose for the endzone as Watkins, who had eight touchdowns in 15 games last season, or Odell Beckham Jr., whom the Rams discussed before they traded for Cooks.

Marcus Peters, Cornerback

Height: 6-0 Weight: 197

Age: 25

Contract status: Signed through 2018 (with team option for 2019)

Acquired: Feb. 23, 2018

The price: Rams traded a 2019 second-round draft choice and a 2018 fourth-round choice to the Kansas City Chiefs for Peters and a 2018 sixth-round choice.

Analysis: It feels as though it’s been eons since the Rams made their first big move, to acquire Peters, but it’s only been six weeks. Peters is a ball hawk, with 19 interceptions in three NFL seasons, and the Rams’ ability to pair him with Aqib Talib means they essentially have two No. 1 cornerbacks and almost never will get caught in mismatch scenarios. The Rams say they’ve done due diligence on Peters’ behavior. He hasn’t been involved in off-field problems but regularly has had on-field issues, including last season when he threw a penalty flag into the stands and walked off the field.

Ndamukong Suh, Defensive lineman

Height: 6-4 Weight: 305

Age: 31

Contract status: Signed through 2018

Acquired: March 26, 2018

The price: A one-year contract reportedly worth $14 million.

Analysis: Nobody saw this one coming. The Rams didn’t seem like a fit for Suh when the Miami Dolphins released him in March, but after visits with New Orleans and Tennessee, Suh agreed to only a one-year contract with the Rams, who sold him on the idea of a dominating partnership with Aaron Donald and a chance at his first Super Bowl championship. Suh might not be as individually dominant as he was a couple years ago, but he’s a run-stopping plug in the middle of the defensive line, which was an issue for the Rams last season, and coordinator Wade Phillips will utilize Suh’s versatility.

Aqib Talib, Cornerback

Height: 6-1 Weight: 205

Age: 32

Contract status: Signed through 2019

Acquired: March 8, 2018

The price: The Rams traded a 2018 fifth-round draft choice to the Denver Broncos for Talib.

Analysis: Talib didn’t exactly deny reports that he vetoed possible trades to other teams and sought to come to the Rams and reunite with Phillips, with whom he won the Super Bowl with Denver two years ago. Talib’s prime years are in the past, but he remains a big-play threat — in the past three seasons, he has returned three of his five interceptions for touchdowns — and he could enjoy a resurgence in 2018. No longer can teams avoid Talib and throw to the other side of the field, as they sometimes did when playing the Broncos, because Peters is there. For all the talk about Talib’s on-field brash behavior, he’s considered a solid locker-room citizen who could help mentor teammates such as Peters.

Sam Shields, Cornerback

Height: 5-11 Weight: 184

Age: 30

Contract status: Signed through 2019

Acquired: March 8, 2018

The price: A one-year contract reportedly worth $1 million.

Analysis: If this works out, the Rams will have extraordinary depth at cornerback, with Peters, Aqib Talib, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Troy Hill and Shields, who made the Pro Bowl in 2014 but whose career has been interrupted by five concussions, the last of which has kept him on the sidelines since the 2016 season opener. Shields recently indicated that he will retire if he suffers one more concussion. Shields, who has 18 interceptions in 80 career regular-season games, has been cleared by doctors and said he no longer experiences symptoms. If healthy, he has starter-level skill.

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