Originally published by RamsNewswire.com
One of the most surprising storylines leading up to the 2021 NFL season for the Los Angeles Rams was the sudden punter competition between Johnny Hekker and Corey Bojorquez.
The Rams added Bojorquez off waivers following a productive year with the Buffalo Bills. Although head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead credited his signing with being a product of the ‘Nickell Robey-Coleman Bucket’, it became evident that his skill set was more intriguing than some had predicted.
Bojorquez took full advantage of his opportunity in L.A. with a dominant showing in the preseason. However, they ultimately decided to stick with Hekker after trading the former and a 2023 seventh-round draft pick to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
Although Bojorquez added some intrigue to the competition, McVay is confident that Hekker’s body of work speaks for itself moving forward, via Gary Klein of the L.A. Times:
“What Johnny’s done here … long before I got here, is something that doesn’t go lost on me, doesn’t go lost on us,” coach Sean McVay said after practice. “And I am confident that he’s going to be the productive player he’s been throughout the course of his career.”
McVay previously acknowledged that having two starting-caliber punters on the team was a good problem to have leading up to the final roster cuts. While he was hesitant to indicate which one had the edge at that point, it has since been made clear.
Despite coming off a rough 2020 campaign, there is no denying Hekker’s status as one of the NFL’s best punters. He is a four-time First-Team All-Pro and has served as the centerpiece of a specialist group that has ushered in some changes in recent years.
There were some that felt Bojorquez could provide more bang for their buck since Hekker is the highest-paid punter in the NFL. The Rams have since remedied that by restructuring his contract in order to stay on a more team-friendly deal.
It is safe to say that Hekker’s willingness to restructure his contract was an integral part in him being able to stay. He is now poised to bounce back this year after once again being named captain of the special teams.
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