Late last week, the Los Angeles Rams made their first series of roster moves by announcing the cuts of defensive end Chris Long, middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, and tight end Jared Cook. The cuts are expected to save the rams about $24 million in cap space. It is expected that some or much of the freed up monies will go toward negotiating new deals with cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, and safety Rodney McLeod.
After being drafted by the Rams with the 2nd overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, Long got off to a strong start for the organization. He compiled 50.5 sacks from 2008-13 and then only managed four sacks the last two seasons, his lowest output since his freshman year. After he was cut, Long defended the Rams' decision on Instagram by saying that he simply had not been producing in a production-based business.
Laurinaitis was equally professional when addressing the decision. He had been working at out the team facility when he was pulled into head coach Jeff Fisher's office and made aware of the plan. Lauinaitis joined the Rams in 2009. On September 27th of this season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Laurinaitis surpassed Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen to become the Rams' all-time leading tackler. The Ohio State graduate played 99.7 percent of all defensive snaps in his career, missing only 21 snaps in seven seasons with the Rams.
Cook was a 3rd round draft choice out of South Carolina. The tight end had steady production for the Rams in his seven seasons with the organization, catching 142 passes for 1,786 yards and eight touchdowns. Cook was set to make $8.3 million in cap space next season. All three players had been key for the Rams in marketing, ticket sales, and community-based leadership.