News that Los Angeles Rams CB Janoris Jenkins would be headed to the New York Giants via free agency broke early this morning from ESPN's Adam Schefter. With the full window of free agency opening at 4pm ET later today, Jenkins' departure would have immediate effects on the Rams' depth chart at CB, their free agency outlook and their draft board.
Let's take a look.
Rams' CB Depth Chart
At the top of the depth chart are Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines and Lamarcus Joyner.
Gaines, after a promising rookie campaign in 2014, missed all of 2015 with a Lisfranc injury in his foot before the preseason even started. He still has two years remaining on his rookie year contract keeping him a Ram through 2017.
Joyner, the Rams' 2nd round pick from the 2014 NFL Draft taken four rounds prior to Gaines, was a significant contributor in 2015 logging nearly two-thirds of the defensive snaps.
Marcus Roberson also stepped up in 2015 as a reserve option playing more than a quarter of the snaps. From Weeks 12-14, he only missed one defensive snap proving he could be a quality back of the depth chart corner. He's on the last of his three-year rookie deal.
The Rams don't have any other corners under contract outside of practice squad corner Melvin White. Both Troy Hill and Eric Patterson have expiring deals.
Rams' FA Options
Of course the problem with losing a corner to free agency means that the pool is shallower to begin with since your guy is coming off the top. Danny Kelly, the manager over at Field Gulls and frenemy of TST, laid out a good case that teams have been overpaying for cornerbacks in free agency of late. Janoris' $12m per deal certainly doesn't refute that very vehemently.
Still, there are a couple of solid options if the Rams aren't comfortable going three-wide at CB with Roberson as the fourth.
Rams' Draft Options
This, though, would be the more likely course of action for a Rams front office that has shown an affinity for gathering cornerbacks through the draft. Jenkins, Johnson and Joyner were all day 2 guys. Could the Rams spring for another CB in round two or three?
Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Ohio St. CB Eli Apple and Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander all look like probable first rounders. After those three, you're looking at some mix of Houston CB William Jackson III, Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller, Miami CB Artie Burns, Baylor CB Xavien Howard and Mississipppi St. CB Will Redmond. And those are just second round options. With the reaches from the second round into the third, there's at least another dozen names we could throw in the pot.
The bottom line is that losing starters in free agency has ramifications up and down the roster. In this case, the Rams were four-deep at CB with Gaines returning and a long shot option in Roberson. It could be sufficient to get through 2016 assuming they don't have to deal with another season-long injury.
I wouldn't count the Rams out of adding another corner to the roster before we get to training camp though.