Perhaps the first time we saw a team in the NFL attempt what the Los Angeles Rams are trying this offseason—to build a superteam through free agency, the latest addition being star defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh—it was the year 2000. That's when the owner of the Washington football team, Dan Snyder, seemingly took leave of his football senses.
Snyder signed an aging Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith. He added a washed Jeff George at quarterback. Mark Carrier, a safety, was also mostly done when he came aboard. The result was a team that went 8-8, which helped cement Washington's efforts as perhaps the worst free-agent spending spree in the history of the NFL and Snyder as an owner who couldn't get out of his own way.
There have been other attempts to build these kinds of teams with similar results.
The 2011 Eagles signed DE Jason Babin, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, DT Cullen Jenkins, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, RB Ronnie Brown, QB Vince Young and TE Donald Lee.
Young nicknamed those Eagles the "Dream Team," but they went 12-20 over the next two seasons.
Superteams fail because football isn't basketball. In the NFL, you simply cannot add stars to a team, like spices to a soup, and dominate.
Until now, maybe.
On Monday, the Rams added Suh, the interior line version of Kevin Durant, to a line that already has Aaron Donald, the interior line version of LeBron James.
The latest move comes after the franchise had already traded for corner Marcus Peters and future Hall of Famer Aqib Talib. Add a loaded defense to an already-loaded offense, headlined by Pro Bowlers Todd Gurley, Jared Goff and Cooper Kupp, and the Rams have to be the NFC favorites.
Call them the Golden State Rams.
Yet unlike the Washington team from 18 years ago, or the 2011 Eagles, this team actually has a chance to be...super.
That's because the Rams aren't just a bunch of older players getting together for a last paycheck. The roster is a mix of dynamic young stars such as Gurley, Donald and Peters and hardened veterans like Talib and Suh.
These players aren't washed. They do the washing.
It's true, the Rams haven't won anything yet, and what lies in front of them won't be easy to topple. They'll face a rejuvenated Packers team. Old foe Russell Wilson is still in the division. The 49ers are getting really good, really fast. The Eagles are the defending Super Bowl champions. Then there's Drew Brees, Cam Newton and that Vikings defense.
The Rams also have history working against them—the kind of history that shows winning in the offseason often doesn't translate into winning in the postseason.
And there's plenty of risk. Suh is the dirtiest player in football. Peters can be a hothead as well. So can Talib. Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke has nicknamed these new Rams "The Legion of Goon."
Still, there's something different at work here. Suh's deal is just one year, and playing for a contract should make for a more dedicated player than what he's shown in recent seasons. And the new additions aren't being asked to form the core of the Rams, but rather to supplement a team that went 11-5 last year without them. There's a sense of order and fit to the signings.
That wasn't the case in 2000, which set Washington on a fruitless search for more and more free-agent miracles. None worked.
"In , when he went and got Deion and Bruce and Jeff George, Dan was a fan with a lot of money," former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann told Nunyo Demasio of the Washington Post in 2003. "He wanted every big-name free agent he could get. The way he's grown is that he now knows what it takes to be a winner in the National Football League. It isn't just big-name players."
Now come the Rams, who look like they finally might have found the formula to make this superteam idea work.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.