Oftentimes in the NFL, two seemingly opposing ideas can be true at the same time. While the Los Angeles Rams have seen a flurry of activity in the recent days of NFL Free Agency, most of that activity can be relegated to the “exit” category. One of the most recent of these somber departures is the recent Rams news that tight end Gerald Everett has elected to sign a one-year deal with the divisional rival Seattle Seahawks.

While it’s true that Everett was a backup to the more elusive Tyler Higbee, and the team has never had anything remotely resembling the multidimensional, every down workhorse play of fantasy all-stars like Tony Gonzales, Antonio Gates, Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce. But while Everett may not be quite a household name around the league, the 2017 second-round pick out of South Alabama fit head coach Sean McVay’s heavy play-action offensive scheme exceedingly well, and his leave of absence will undoubtedly resonate with both fans and former teammates alike.

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What Does the Gerald Everett Departure Mean for the Rams?

Everett showed flashes early on in his career, becoming a dependable target and sometimes last-ditch successful safety-net for former quarterback Jared Goff. In his rookie campaign, with limited on-field time, he finished the season with 16 receptions for 244 yards and an average of 15.3 yards per catch. In the years following his rookie year, he has exponentially improved in virtually all statistical categories, and he will be remembered by Rams’ fans mostly for his fearlessly clutch play when it mattered the most. During the 2018-19 season, in the Rams’ unforgettable Monday Night Football showing against the Kansas City Chiefs, in which they ultimately proved victorious after a nail biter 54-51 win, Everett managed to reel in two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help cement a close and crucial victory.

The following season, even though they ended up just barely losing the game 29-30, Everett had a career-defining showing against the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football, adding 136 receiving yards to his resume. Head coach Pete Carroll and company more than likely factored that dominant performance into their ultimate decision to bring in Everett on the roster– not to mention his penultimate 2020-21 season where he posted career-highs in both yards (417) and receptions (41).

Replacing Everett’s Production

Even still, with Goff at the helm, the Rams have not quite utilized what many supposed would be a more legitimate dual threat with both Tyler Higbee and Everett in past seasons. But with the new arrival of quarterback Matthew Stafford, McVay will likely want to take advantage of the quarterback’s propensity to lean on the production of his tight ends, as he did in Detroit with Eric Ebron and later T.J. Hockenson. But while Everett will no longer be gracing the team with his presence, the Rams moved quickly this week to resign tight end Johnny Mundt to a one-year deal. Mundt, an undrafted Oregon alum, is definitely unproven, and so far his abilities have mainly been relegated to run-blocking and special teams duties—although he did manage to haul in four passes for 53 yards last season in extremely limited time running receiving routes within McVay’s offense.

Although the resigning adds much-needed depth at the tight end position, Mundt will more than likely mostly resume his special teams duties moving forward, and in terms of offensive play, more eyes will be glued to the vastly unproven second-year man out of the University of Purdue—Brycen Hopkins.

At 6-4 and 245lbs, Hopkins was a force during his collegiate career, posting totals of 130 receptions for 1,945 yards and 16 touchdowns. While he didn’t see the field much in his first season in the league, essentially acting as a redshirted rookie, Hopkins has had a full season under his belt to fully digest the nuances of the McVay offensive system. Not to mention, with Stafford under center, the oftentimes debilitating mundanity of the previous Goff-led offense should yield much more creativity and thus much more big play opportunities for everyone involved—especially with defenses having to account for the threat of Stafford’s downfield capabilities with his accompanying receivers, theoretically leaving room for tight end targets like Higbee and Hopkins to capitalize more often on shorter routes.

While the loss of Gerald Everett stings, the addition of Stafford and young, eager receiving targets looking to make a name for themselves and profit on Stafford’s versatile passing gifts within McVay’s scheme should yield promising results for a team with current Super Bowl aspirations.

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