The Los Angeles Rams had their work cut out for them prior to the 2016 season...especially on the defensive side of the football, where they’re strongest.
But as the dust settled on the last free agency period, the Rams lost quite a bit. Arguably the best cornerback on their team, Janoris Jenkins signed with the New York Giants. He’s ballin’.
Free safety Rodney McLeod also found himself in the NFC East with the Eagles.
The Rams had no answer at filling their spots, and what they intended on doing didn’t come close to replicating their level of play.
And with one week left in the regular season, it’s safe to say the Rams (4-11) can turn their attention to the offseason. Because the Rams have more work - maybe more than last year - to do prior to the 2017 year.
The Rams will soon name a new head coach. And with him, a new staff. The scheme will change. The personnel will change. Things will change.
And looking at the upcoming year, there are nine Rams who may have already played their last game in a Rams’ uniform.
Here’s their list of 2017 unrestricted free agents:
(CB) Trumaine Johnson (26)
He may have been the best corner on the team when Janoris was in town. He’s clearly the best in his absence. And it’s not even close. He should be a priority for the Rams, but the price tag may dictate whether or not he’s retained.
Spotrac has him valued (in 2017) at 4 years, $57M ($14M per year)
(WR) Kenny Britt (28)
28 years young, Kenny Britt has been a bright spot on the Rams’ offense in 2016. He’s their biggest receiving threat, and surpassed the 1,000 yard last week...something that hasn’t been accomplished since Torry Holt in 2007.
Spotrac has him valued (in 2017) at 3 years, $20.1M ($6.7M per year)
(QB) Case Keenum (28)
Case is an admirable backup. And at the same time, there might be a younger, more viable suitor at his position. Having a veteran QB as a backup is nice...but I think the fans are hoping to see more of Sean Mannion.
(WR) Brian Quick (27)
What more do you need to see?
(RB) Benny Cunningham (26)
There was a slight fear that Benny would be lost in free agency prior to the onset of the 2016 season. He’s a very solid RB2 (averaging 4.8 ypc on limited work) and has performed admirably as a kick returner for the Rams. Oddly, despite his contributions, it seems as though he may be on his way out.
(K) Greg Zuerlein (29)
It’s hit or miss with Greg. And that’s reality. And when did he get so football old?!
(RB) Chase Reynolds (29)
A special teams savant. He’s occupying a space on the active roster for special teams’ purposes only. I can’t imagine he’s brought back with Jeff Fisher out of the picture.
(DE) Cam Thomas (30)
Flip a coin. Cam has been on the field quite a bit this year. He’s a depth player, and wouldn’t make a significant impact on the salary cap regardless.
(S) T.J. McDonald (25)
A bone cruncher in the secondary, McDonald is entering the final year of his rookie deal. He’ll make more highlight reel hits than INT’s, but should definitely be in consideration to be re-signed, regardless of whether or not Gregg Williams sticks.
Are any of these guys top priorities in the upcoming offseason? Who should they aim to keep? And who is free to a new home?