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2016 Los Angeles Rams Free Agents Show Key Decisions Loom In Offseason

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Here are all the Rams who could be headed to free agency this offseason.

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One month from yesterday, the 2015 NFL year ends. On March 9 at 4pm, everything starts over. We've got plenty to do before then (and that link to the NFL's calendar through July will show you every date worth noting...bookmark much?), but it's worth taking stock of where we sit now with expiring contracts and what decisions loom ahead.

Here are the Rams whose contracts are expiring in a month.

Unrestricted Free Agents

UFAs are any NFL players with four or more years ("accrued seasons" are defined as six or more regular-season games on a club's active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists). UFAs are free to sign with any club with no draft choice compensation owed to their old club.

Name POS Exp (w/ Rams) Age 2015 Salary
Tim Barnes C 4 (4) 27 $660,000
Mark Barron SS 4 (2) 26 $2,362,704
Nick Fairley DT 5 (1) 27 $2,500,000
Cory Harkey* FB/TE 4 (4) 25 $1,542,000
William Hayes DE 8 (4) 30 $3,105,000
Janoris Jenkins CB 4 (4) 27 $660,000
Trumaine Johnson CB 4 (4) 25 $1,542,000
Rodney McLeod FS 4 (4) 25 $2,356,000
Brian Quick WR 4 (4) 26 $1,124,536
Eugene Sims DE 6 (6) 29 $1,900,000
Wes Welker WR 12 (1) 34 $456,470
Greg Zuerlein K 4 (4) 28 $691,102

* - There is some question as to whether 2012 counts as an "accrued season" for Harkey. Still looking into this. If it's not, he'd be a Restricted Free Agent this offseason.

The Los Angeles Rams And 2016 NFL Free Agency

Perhaps the biggest issue here is in the secondary with three starters in Jenkins, Johnson and McLeod all possibly headed for free agency. It's potentially workable for the Rams to re-sign all three, though I'm not sure it makes a ton of sense to do so. The Rams already have cornerback depth galore with Lamarcus Joyner and E.J. Gaines on the roster. Neither Jenkins nor Johnson is going to come cheaply. And as for McLeod, the Rams have helped mentor him into one of the league's better safeties coming up as a UDFA in 2012. He might be the highest priority of the three based on replaceability.

You've also got both reserve defensive ends in Hayes and Sims with expiring contracts. Neither of them are exactly young up and comers either.

Zuerlein's a tough call. He's still got one of the best legs in the league, and that remains an underrated game changing capability. On the other hand, it was year four (and, blatantly, a contract year) for GZ, and he posted his worst FG% yet making just 20 of 30 attempts and going three for nine from 50+ yards.

And the Barron-Welker-Fairley decisions have to be tough as well. Certainly Barron offered a more immediate solution of the three, but without knowing what direction the Rams are moving in re: the defensive line and WR corps, who knows.

Restricted Free Agents

RFAs are any NFL players with three years in the league. RFAs are free to sign an offer sheet with any team, but the old team has the "right of first refusal" which allows them to match the offer and retain the player. If they do not, the team may receive a draft pick based on the amount of the offer.

Name POS Exp (w/ Rams) Age 2015 Salary
Daren Bates OLB 3 (3) 25 $585,000
Benny Cunningham RB 3 (3) 25 $585,000
Cody Davis S 3 (3) 26 $585,000
Case Keenum QB 3 (1) 27 $585,000
Chase Reynolds RB 3 (3) 28 $585,000

This is all about those special teams. It's an aspect I mentioned often in the snap count recaps. No reason to think the Rams won't bring them all back, but who knows.

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

ERFAs are players with two accrued seasons.

Name POS Exp (w/ Rams) Age 2015 Salary
Isaiah Battle OT 0 (0)
22 $179,117
Malcolm Brown RB 0 (0)
22 $105,600
Christian Bryant S 2 (2) 23 $255,882
Brian Folkerts C 2 (0) 25 $240,882
Nick Toon WR 2 (0)
27 $85,800

Bryant made the cut with his special teams work. Folkerts accrued two seasons with the Panthers before joining the Rams late last year. Same goes for Toon with the Saints. I think Matt Longacre and Doug Worthington are still under contract.

The big one here, potentially, is Isaiah Battle. He is the de facto 2016 NFL Draft fifth-round pick for the Rams. They stashed him away last season, so it'll be interesting to see how they bring him along this year with two starters ahead of him in Greg Robinson heading into a pivotal third year and Rob Havenstein looking to improve on a very solid rookie season.

In any case, this is the baseline for the Rams and what they're looking at as we get into the last month before 2016 NFL Free Agency opens.