THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams general manager Les Snead held a video conference with local media Tuesday to recap the first wave of free agency and look ahead to their approach toward the rest of it.
Here are some of the top takeaways from that virtual conversation:
Talks with Aaron Donald and his reps "in progress," but nothing done yet
Getting new deals done for quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive lineman Aaron Donald were high priorities this offseason for Snead and head coach Sean McVay.
They got Stafford's done over the weekend, with him signing a four-year extension. Now their attention turns to Donald.
Snead said those contract talks with Donald and his representation are in progress, but no deal has been done yet. However, Donald has articulated to the Rams that he wants to return.
"We're trying to come up with a win win solution to reward Aaron but still definitely be able to continue trying to compete as a team at the highest level so we're in progress there," Snead said.
The 30-year-old Donald registered 12.5 sacks in the regular season for his fourth-straight in double-digits, plus 25 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles while starting all 17 games. In the playoffs, he notched another six sacks, and had the game-clinching pressures in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl LVI.
Rams still want Odell Beckham Jr. to return
Snead once again emphasized the Rams want Odell Beckham Jr. to come back, but working through that situation is complicated given Beckham's expected mid-season return from injury. Beckham sustained a knee injury during Super Bowl LVI which required surgery that he announced on Feb. 23 was successful.
"I think it's a situation where, big-picture, conceptually, we've envisioned being similar but different circumstances to this year, where Odell's ready to play," Snead said. "We would definitely appreciate him being a part of that diversity of eligibles we were talking about and obviously coming in later in the season and finishing things off with him."
Should Beckham return, he would join a wide receiver corps that includes Cooper Kupp and free agent signee Allen Robinson. Beckham had 27 receptions for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight regular season games with the Rams, then 21 receptions for 288 yards and two touchdowns during the Rams' Super Bowl LVI-winning playoff run.
Comp picks won't handcuff approach to rest of free agency
Acquiring compensatory draft picks has become an integral part of the Rams' draft strategy. In order for a team to qualify for those picks, they must lose more unrestricted free agents than they gain.
Important as it may be to the Rams' team-building model, it will not heavily influence how they approach the rest of free agency.
"We're always cognizant of that," Snead said. "But you also don't want to just be 'OK, our whole objective in life is to acquire as many comp picks as possible,' right. So, in the calculus equation, we might need to give up a comp pick to acquire someone to help. We kind of look at as stay agile, always know the landscape, and if an opportunity presents itself, analyze it and determine if that opportunity is worth going for."