With the Rams' football season officially concluded, their offseason now begins in earnest. This will be an intriguing, difficult offseason for the St. Louis Rams. There will be tough decisions to make regarding pending free agents. Potential issues with the quarterback position and the offense as a whole will command the Rams' attention. Ultimately, the team will be looking to put the final pieces in place for a playoff run in 2016.
The Rams currently have 72 players under contract::
- The 53 players who ended the season on the 53-man active roster.
- The 13 players who ended the season on Injured Reserve, Reserve/Suspended and Reserve/NFI: Trey Watts, Stedman Bailey, Robert Quinn, Doug Worthington, Nick Fairley, Eric Patterson, Tim McDonald Jr., Jamon Brown, Darrell Williams, Isiah Ferguson, Rodger Saffold, E.J. Gaines and Alec Ogletree.
- The 6 players who were signed from the practice squad to reserve/futures contracts after the season ended: LB Zack Hodges, LB Matthew Wells, FB Zach Laskey, TE Justice Cunningham, WR Deon Long and OG David Arkin. Practice squad players WR J.J. Worton and CB Melvin White were not offered reserve/futures contracts.
Reserve/futures contracts are only available to players who were not on any NFL team's active roster at the end of the regular season. Players who were on practice squads or out of football entirely at the end of a season can be signed to this type of contract. The contract is for the 2016 season and doesn't count against the salary cap until the new league year begins in March.
St. Louis Rams Current Roster & Depth Chart
|Tim McDonald Jr.
|72 Players Total
St. Louis Rams 2016 Eligible Free Agents
The following 28 players are currently eligible for Free Agency on March 15, 2016. ERFA's (Exclusive Rights Free Agents) have two or less accrued years in the league. RFA's (Restricted Free Agents) have three accrued years in the league. UFA's (Unrestricted Free Agents) have 4 or more accrued years in the league. In each instance, their contracts will have been fulfilled at the end of the 2015 season. Each type of Free Agent is distinguished by varying levels of team control. Player contracts run concurrently with the league year. The Rams may re-sign any of the 28 players before the new league year begins on March 15, 2016.
Position Player FA Status QB Case Keenum RFA RB Benny Cunningham RFA RB Chase Reynolds RFA RB Malcolm Brown ERFA TE Cory Harkey UFA WR Brian Quick UFA WR Nick Toon ERFA WR Wes Welker UFA C Tim Barnes UFA OT Isaiah Battle ERFA OL Eric Kush ERFA OL Brian Folkerts RFA K Greg Zuerlein UFA DT Nick Fairley UFA DT Doug Worthington ERFA DT Louis Trinca-Pasat ERFA DE Eugene Sims UFA DE William Hayes UFA DE Matt Longacre ERFA OLB Daren Bates RFA CB Janoris Jenkins UFA CB Trumaine Johnson UFA CB Eric Patterson ERFA CB Troy Hill ERFA SS Mark Barron UFA FS Rodney McLeod UFA FS Christian Bryant ERFA FS Cody Davis RFA
The Rams will have many difficult decisions to make this off season. Some of those decisions will likely involve players listed among their 2015 top dozen salary cap hits:
- Nick Fairley becomes an UFA after the season. Has Fairley accomplished enough on his one year prove-it deal to warrant a longer term contract with the Rams?
- Chris Long missed 4 games this season due to injury, after missing 10 games in 2014 with an injury. Long will be 31 and counts $14.25 million against the Rams' salary cap in 2016 (the final year of his contract). Will the Rams part ways with Long, or work out a small extension, reducing his 2016 salary cap hit in the process?
- The inconsistent Jared Cook has an $8.3 million salary cap hit in 2016. Will the Rams negotiate a pay cut with Cook, release him outright (cap savings of $5.7M in 2016) or leave the contract as it is?
- The oft-injured Rodger Saffold missed 11 games this season due to a shoulder injury. Saffold may become a salary cap casualty in the offseason. His release would create $3 million in salary cap savings for 2016.
- William Hayes becomes an UFA after the season. Hayes has played more snaps this season because of injuries to Chris Long and Robert Quinn. He's a quality performer who represents great value for the Rams. They'll make every attempt to re-sign Hayes this offseason.
- Kenny Britt has had his ups and downs since joining the Rams in 2014. Britt will carry a $4.85 million salary cap hit in 2016. Depending on ones perspective, that salary cap hit could be considered a relative bargain...or an extravagance.
- James Laurinaitis' salary cap hit rises to $6.425 million in 2016 (from $4.275M in 2015). Laurinaitis is a better-than-average MLB and team leader. Could he become a cap casualty this offseason? If the Rams re-sign Mark Barron, they could decide to move Alec Ogletree inside (his college position) and have Barron, Ogletree and Ayers as their starting LB's.
- A month ago, I took a look at "The Implications Of Nick Foles' Contract Extension". If the Rams release Foles after the season, they will only save $750,000 against the salary cap. Will the Rams keep Foles through 2016?
Please check out my latest complete salary cap update (published on Thursday), for an in-depth look at the Rams' financial position entering the offseason.