While the majority of the NFL ponders who they can sign as they try to get the salary cap to work in their favor, it feels as if the Los Angeles Rams are playing a video game -- having gone into settings and turned the salary cap off entirely. They're once again all-in in 2022, as they were in 2021, when several headline acquisitions led to a deep playoff run and eventual victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI, and that has led them right to the table where Stephon Gilmore is sitting.
They've shifted their focus just ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft to seeing if the two-time All-Pro cornerback would like to join them, per The Athletic. The two sides have reportedly been in contact as Gilmore sifts through the free agency waters, and the news of interest in Gilmore arrives not long after the Rams successfully reeled in a whale at linebacker, i.e., perennial All-Pro Bobby Wagner, on a five-year deal worth upwards of $65 million.
If they can add Gilmore to the defense as well, it would all but certainly combine with the signing of Wagner to close the wound opened by the departure of future Hall of Fame linebacker Von Miller to the Buffalo Bills.
And speaking of the Bills, that just happens to be the team that gave Gilmore his start in the NFL, after selecting him with the 10th-overall pick in 2012 -- where Gilmore would play out his rookie deal before heading to the division rival New England Patriots. He became arguably the best cornerback in football during his stretch in Foxboro, but tensions regarding his contract and lack of a big-money extension ultimately ended his time under Bill Belichick.
Then traded to the Carolina Panthers in 2021 in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round pick, Gilmore returned from injury to grab two interceptions in three starts (allowing just 155 yards in coverage) en route to landing his fifth Pro Bowl nod, and remains one of the top talents still available for teams in need of a proven and very capable defensive back. The Rams would seemingly love to plop him in opposite All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but while the salary cap can be fairly easily manipulated when a team is motivated, the reality is it still has to be.
That said, the Rams will likely need to rework some contracts -- e.g., Aaron Donald -- to fit Gilmore in at his asking price, which won't be an inexpensive one, barring the veteran accepting a discount to potentially land his second Super Bowl ring.