2009 Rams free agents - defense

Awhile back we took a look at the Rams players on offense that will be free agents this season, so with free agency just a few weeks away, it's a good time to review the Rams free agents on defense. There are some important names on this side of the ball. A new head coach who comes to the team as a successful defensive coordinator adds a little bit of an x-factor to the predictions game. Let's look at it from a fan perspective. What's likely to happen to this crop of free agent players?

Victor Adeyanju, DE, RFA - He made a good case this season to remain on the roster with a tireless work ethic and specialty for playing the run...if only he'd have had some support. As a restricted free agent, I can't imagine the Rams won't keep him. Plus, Spagnuolo's defense in NY had a bevy of ends he rotated in and out; Adeyanju seems to be a good fit for a rotation.


Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2008 - Victor Adeyanju 14 2.0 11 0 0 0 40 7 47

O.J. Atogwe, S - Atogwe's a ball hawking free safety who once again led the team in INTs (5), forced fumbles (6) and fumbles recovered (3). He needs to get better in coverage to be truly elite. The Rams have said they'll use the franchise or transition tag to keep Atogwe on the roster.


Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2008 - Oshiomogho Atogwe 16 0 0 5 91 0 75 7 82

Ron Bartell, CB - Bartell emerged as the Rams top CB - I don't mean that as a joke either - he was legit and the team has said they'd like to keep him on the roster by making him a reasonable offer. The question is will he accept or test the free agent waters, where teams always overpay? He's fond of Haslett, and might follow the former interim coach if he lands a gig elsewhere.


Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2008 - Ron Bartell 15 1.0 4 3 29 0 54 3 57

Fakhir Brown, CB - This was a weird saga, released from the team, then brought back...after Linehan got canned. Brown plays well enough in coverage, but if the team looks for a big free agent, they won't likely resign him.


Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2008 - Fakhir Brown 13 1.0 4 1 16 0 41 4 45

Jason Craft, CB - Craft did a nice job playing nickel and really made a name for himself when the defense brought in a CB on the blitz. He's worth keeping and should come at a reasonable rate.


Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2008 - Jason Craft 15 3.0 22 1 16 0 51 4 55

La'Roi Glover, DT - Glover, by all accounts, seems set to retire after a great career. The guy just got too old and slow to handle offensive linemen anymore. (I'm not posting his stats since he's not coming back).

Ricky Manning, CB - Manning had some serviceable time with the Rams as a depth guy before hitting IR with a very serious broken leg and ankle. There's no need to bring him back...if he can even play again.

Eric Moore, DE - A depth guy at DE. He may come to camp, but easily replaceable.

The priorities are fairly obvious on this side of the ball: Atogwe, Bartell. The fate of players like Adeyanju and Craft, I think, depend on which direction Spagnuolo goes with the defense and who fits into that plan. I can't imagine he and his coaches don't already have some free agent targets identified, even as role players.

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