The Rams needed salary-cap space, and releasing Langford afforded them an extra $6 million in that regard. And though Langford was a solid and probably underrated player in his time in St. Louis, he had lost his job to dynamic rookie Aaron Donald. There aren't many teams willing to eat a $7 million cap charge for a backup at any position.
Even from Langford's standpoint, it was probably for the best because it allows him a chance to go seek a starting job elsewhere. Having played well in both a 3-4 (in Miami) and 4-3 (in St. Louis) defense, Langford should have no problem finding work. At 28, he figures to have plenty of good football in front of him and the Rams did the right thing to let him go now so he can seek a job before the free-agent market opens on March 10.
So for both sides, it's a move that was not only logical but handled as well as a breakup can be. But while the Rams understandably didn't want to pay such a premium for depth at defensive tackle, Langford's release does leave them shorthanded on the interior of the defensive line.
As it stands, only starters Michael Brockers and Donald are signed for 2015. The Rams also have William Hayes, Eugene Sims and Ethan Westbrooks, all of whom are ends by trade but have the ability to shift inside situationally. Absent Langford and considering they're unlikely to re-sign Alex Carrington, who disappointed after signing a one-year deal last year, the Rams now again could find themselves in the market for help at defensive tackle.
The Rams under coach Jeff Fisher have valued the ability to have a rotation among defensive lineman, though that has been tempered a bit by Donald's ability to play at a high level for most of the game.
The free-agent market at defensive tackle looks intriguing at the moment but the Rams will almost certainly be shopping in the bargain bin if they look to add a veteran. This year's NFL draft also doesn't look to be flush with talent at the position but again, the Rams probably won't need to spend serious draft capital to find a capable body.
Some were surprised a year ago when the Rams drafted Donald because they already had Brockers, Langford and Carrington in place. With only Brockers and Donald in place this time around, another addition or two at the position shouldn't take anybody by surprise.