The Los Angeles Rams made some major moves Friday, as they cut veterans defensive end Chris Long, linebacker James Laurinaitis and tight end Jared Cook, according to the Rams' team website.
There was speculation that the Rams might cut Cook this offseason, but the organization has decided to make a major change and cut three impact players from their roster, saving $24.375 million on their 2016 salary cap, according to NFL reporter Albert Breer.
"This is the time of year when all NFL teams are faced with difficult decisions regarding their veteran players," said head coach Jeff Fisher, via the Rams' team website. "Chris and James are the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league and it's been an honor to coach them both. They've been the pillars of our defense for many years and not enough can be said of their love for the game and for their teammates. Beyond the field, they took pride in mentoring the younger players and doing their part to make a real difference in the St. Louis community. We will always be grateful for James and Chris' unselfish commitment to the Rams and wish them the best moving forward."
Both Laurinaitis and Long have spent their entire NFL careers with the Rams, and will not join the Rams in their move to Los Angeles this offseason. All three players will be coveted free agents this offseason, and will likely have options as to where they will play in 2016.
The Rams are clearly building from the ground up with their move to Los Angeles, and will have two huge holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. Laurinaitis had started every game since being drafted in the 2009, and recorded over 100 combined tackles every season in St. Louis. The Rams lost some key players this Friday, and now have to fill holes on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball this offseason.