I've already touched on how I think the Rams should pursue free agency, but with free agency drawing near, PFF let their thoughts known as well.
Trumaine Johnson and/or Janoris Jenkins
I say and/or here because resigning two young starting cornerbacks coming off of career years could start getting pricey, but cornerback is quickly becoming one of the most premium positions in the NFL. If I had to choose between the two, I’d likely go with Johnson for the consistency over his career, but with his length (6-foot-2-inches) and seven interceptions a year ago, he may be the higher priced of the two.
Snead and Fisher have pronounced retaining their starting CBs "Priority A" (link). I agree that Tru should be prioritized over JJ, but I'd love to have them both back.
McLeod is another piece that needs to be retained from their solid secondary. The former undrafted free agent has developed into one of the better coverage safeties over the last two seasons, and finished 2015 as our 10th-highest graded safety overall.
McLeod has grown on me. I used to look at him as the weak link in the secondary, but he's certainly started to hold his own. I think it would be beneficial for the Rams to retain him, but with the caveat that the Rams don't overpay to retain him. He's a good player, but he benefits from the play of those around him and is ultimately the most replaceable out of the Rams free agent DBs.
This one is a no-brainer. With Chris Long out of the picture and Eugene Sims also a free agent, Hayes will be in line for a large snap increase if he returns. The 31-year-old has always excelled in a backup role for the Rams, but took it to the next level this year with an increase in snaps, and was our 11th-highest graded edge defender. Coming on so strong late in his career, Hayes likely won’t have a huge market beating down his door, similar to Jason Hatcher a couple years back.
Hayes is a key cog in the Rams defensive efforts. While I think it'd be smart to retain him, I don't think counting on him to start for 16 games would be the wisest decision either. Keep him aboard, but solidify the depth behind him as well.
There was a time at the beginning of the 2014 season when it looked like Quick might turn into the No. 1 receiver that the Rams so desperately need. After injury cut short his season that year, the former second-round pick never quite recaptured that form in 2015, hauling in only 10 of his 32 targets on the season. They’ll be very little market for Quick in free agency, so it’s worth bringing back a guy who they’ve spent four years developing already.
I used to be the head honcho of the Quick bandwagon, but I just don't see it anymore. He flashed his potential for a few games in 2014, but could never seem to get it going last season after his "severe" shoulder injury. That being said, the Rams need bodies at WR and the front office has indicated that they want him back. A "prove-it" deal seems likely.
The former undrafted free agent was our 24th-ranked center last year in his first full season as a starter. With so much invested along the offensive line from the 2015 draft, it’s worth looking there for a starting center in 2016.
Barnes is a push for me. If he's back, he'll still be meh. I see the value in keeping him around, but ultimately I'd like the Rams to upgrade - even if they retain him.
Fairley is a great fit for the Rams’ scheme and put up a fantastic season with the team last year, but someone else is going to pay him like a starter. Fairley’s build isn’t suited for the nose, and with Aaron Donald already manning the three-tech position better than anyone else in the NFL, Los Angeles would be silly to pay big money to a backup.
What they said. Earmark that dough for AD99
Quality safety/linebacker hybrids are an invaluable weapon in modern defenses, and the Rams would love to have Barron back, but the question then becomes, for what price? He may be a man without a defined role, with Alec Ogletree returning and his top-10 pedigree likely pushing the price too high.
This is my biggest beef here. With the Rams moving 'Tree to MLB they NEED Barron back. They will not find another player of filling the WLB spot as superbly as Barron. That need will likely reflect in Barron's contract demands, potentially costing them another defensive starter to free agency.
Beachum is only two seasons in, but it’s time to seriously reconsider Greg Robinson’s role as the starting left tackle. Robinson has been among the lowest-graded left tackles in each of his first two seasons, and he has a myriad of issues that can’t just be fixed overnight. Beachum would be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum in pass protection, and provide some stability on the edge.
I think it's too soon to consider this. The Rams have Rodger Saffold capable of bridging the LT spot if Robinson can't get his shit together in year 3.
The Rams simply need as many weapons as they can get on offense. Green has been stuck as a backup to Antonio Gates his entire career, but even in limited snaps, he’s always graded out extremely well as a receiver. His 79.1 receiving grade in 2015 trumps Jared Cook’s 47.7 grade by some margin.
I think the Rams plan on using Lance Kendricks as the starter due to his blocking ability, but I would not complain about bringing Green aboard for his acumen as a receiver.