The Rams Have Changed The Act of Team Building

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As witnesses to life in the NFL, fans are more than familiar with teams living day by day and valuing their future more than their present. By speaking of their future about a "window," the amount of time a team can achieve their goals within five, ten, or fifteen years, it has been accepted that a team will only strike when they feel it's necessary. But over the last couple of seasons, the Los Angeles Rams didn't just strike when it's essential, but when they felt like it, thus drastically changing the act of team-building in the NFL.

By willingly parting ways with draft capital and salary cap space in the spirit of an NBA or MLB team to maximize their chance to win sooner than later, the Rams have bypassed the traditional ways of building a championship contender. Minus a few instances in recent years (Chiefs and Buccaneers over the last season and a half) or decades ago (The 49ers and Cowboys of the 1980s and 1990s), NFL title contenders follow a similar blueprint:

1. Drafting at a high level.

2. Resigning their own talents and

3. Spending heavily in free agency when it made sense.

Since joining the team as general manager in 2012, Les Snead has often traded away draft picks to acquire high-end talent, whether that means moving up to select Jared Goff with the first overall pick in 2016 or landing established veterans like  Jalen Ramsey, Odell Beckham Jr, Andrew Whitworth and Marcus Peters, despite having a lack of a salary cap space at times.  

And while the Rams' moves haven't resulted in a Super Bowl title yet, it has made them one of the NFL's consistent contenders. Since 2017, which also happens to be head coach Sean McVay's first season with the team, the NFC West competitor has won at least ten games three times, made the playoffs in each of those seasons, and made the Super Bowl in McVay's second season. 

When speaking about that window of opportunity, the Rams understood you don't wait for anybody to give you a chance to win because you create it. Sure, it could be easier to stay patient and wait for their competition to regress, but the Rams chose to step in front of the pack and did so within their means.

The Rams being this aggressive is necessary for them, but it's fun for everybody else to watch. Team building as we know it in the NFL is rapidly changing, and sooner than later, teams have to realize what can or will not happen for them. If there's anything we know about this league, everybody copies each other, especially if their strategy is successful. So don't be surprised if more teams channel their inner Rams and become more aggressive soon.

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