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The Los Angeles Rams Should Target Bengals’ Wide Receiver Marvin Jones In Free Agency

No Alshon Jeffery? No problem!

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Another NFL year has come and gone, and thus begins an offseason where the Los Angeles Rams will be in search of help at the wide receiver position. Will they look to the NFL Draft or free agency for help? 

The pool of free agent wide receivers in 2016 is pretty shallow, and it’s Chicago Bears’ receiver Alshon Jeffery who is clearly at the top of the free agent class.  In his first four seasons [51 games] in the league, Jeffery amassed 252 catches for 3,728 yards and 24 touchdowns.

But are the Bears simply going to let the best receiver on their team - and one of the better WRs in the entirety of the NFC - simply walk away?  Probably not.  If the two sides aren’t able to iron out a plan to keep Alshon in the Windy City, they could just as easily use the franchise tag on him.  And if he were to test the market, the Rams would need to be willing to sign him for somewhere in the realm of 5 years, $64 million [$12.8M per year] according to Spotrac’s Market Value estimator.

That’s a lot of dough.

But Alshon, while the most coveted, isn’t the only receiver available.  Who’s the next best player available in the free agent market?

The Rams should take a look at Bengals’ wide receiver Marvin Jones, who’s openly stated he’s testing the market and won’t be providing the Bengals with any hometown discounts.

"I love Cincinnati, But at the same time, I am a free agent. It wouldn't be good for me not to test the waters a little bit. It's just an exciting process," Jones told NFL Network's Scott Hanson.

Jones, who’s finishing up his rookie deal in Cincy, has played in only 43 games, having missed all of 2014 with ankle and foot injuries.  In his sophomore season [2013] - the Bengals’ WR2 behind A.J. Green - finished the year with 51 receptions for 712 yards, and a career-high 10 touchdowns.  Any concerns about his health were answered in 2015 when he returned to the field tallying 65 catches, 816 yards, and 4 TD’s.

Jones would clearly be a more cost-friendly addition, as well.  Spotrac gives him a market value of $5.5 million per year, or somewhere in the ballpark of four years, $22M.   That’s a far cry the $60-70M contract Jeffery will be garnering.

One last potentially minor, possibly major, aspect of luring in Marvin Jones would be his link[s] to the new city in which the Rams will play.  The 25-year old Jones was born in Los Angeles, and played college ball at the University of California.  He’s made it evident he’s testing the market, and that undoubtedly means he’s looking to get paid, but playing in his hometown, in close proximity to friends and family, would have to be appealing.

Assuming Jeffery gets the tag, or signs elsewhere, other potential wideouts vying for the second biggest payday amongst free agent receivers would be:  Anquan Boldin [35], Travis Benjamin [26], and Rueben Randle [24].