On Saturday, August 30th, the Rams announced the release of rookie DE Michael Sam. Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL played well in pre-season, but not quite well enough. The Rams judged that he had been outplayed by UDFA Ethan Westbrooks, who ultimately made the Rams roster.
The first question: Will the Rams regret this decision? Not really. The Rams defensive line is generally thought of as one of the best in the NFL, so Michael Sam not making the roster despite performing well enough is a testament to how good and how deep the Rams are at the position. Its also not a knock against Sam, who really would have earned a spot on many other NFL teams.
Whats next for Michael Sam?
So where does Michael Sam go next? He is now on waivers, and if he clears would be a free agent. Will someone grab him before that happens? Does he sign elsewhere as a free agent? Does he join the Rams practice squad? Let’s take a look.
The San Francisco 49ers could be a good fit for Sam, considering the number of holes they have on the front 7 after a pre-season filled with injuries and suspensions. The main problem is that Sam is more of a 4-3 defensive end, and the 49ers run a 3-4 defensive scheme, which would force Sam to convert to Linebacker, a position he may not have the speed to play. The 49ers may lack some depth up front, but the players they do have are still young, and its not clear where Sam would push for a spot.
Another possible candidate would be the Seattle Seahawks, especially considering they run the 4-3 scheme Sam fits in. The main problem? This is the #1 defense in the NFL we’re dealing with. Does Seattle have room for a rookie that just got cut, even considering the off-season losses on Seahawks line.
Despite not running the scheme that really favors Sam, I could see the Dallas Cowboys signing him. They run a 3-4 scheme, but with veteran defensive ends such as Ben Gardner, Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Henry Melton out on the injury reserve, Dallas has an opening at that spot for Michael Sam to fit in. Sam could slot in as a rotational player, who would play on clear passing downs and try to rush the quarterback. He did pick up 3 sacks in the pre-season after all. If “America’s Team” has any interest, they’d better act fast, because it’s assumed Sam will be signed before the season starts.
For now though, we play the waiting game.
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