It was a big day on the 53-man roster front for the Los Angeles Rams after trading for Jacksonville Jaguars EDGE Dante Fowler Jr. and waiving OL Jamon Brown to make room for him. While that obviously changes the immediate outlook for the Rams now halfway through the 2018 regular season, it also changes things for the 2019 offseason and the 2019 NFL Draft.
2019 free agency
Here are the current Rams that will be free agents in 2019 (along with those who were headed for the same outcome):
2019 Los Angeles Rams Free Agents
|Marcus Peters||CB||UFA (option)||Optioned|
|Brandin Cooks||WR||UFA||Re-signed, 5-yr, $80m|
|Aaron Donald||DT||UFA||Re-signed, 6-yr, $135m|
|Dante Fowler, Jr.||EGDE||UFA||Re-signed, 1-yr, $14m|
|Todd Gurley||RB||UFA (option)||Re-signed, 4-yr, $60m|
|Rob Havenstein||OL||UFA||Re-signed, 4-yr, $32.5m|
|Cory Littleton||ILB||RFA||Tendered (2nd round)|
|Malcolm Brown||RB||RFA||Tendered (original round)|
|Blake Countess||DB||RFA||Tendered (original round)|
|Troy Hill||CB||RFA||Tendered (original round)|
|Morgan Fox||DE||ERFA||Tendered (ERFA)|
|Dominique Hatfield||CB||ERFA||Tendered (ERFA)|
|KhaDarel Hodge||WR||ERFA||Tendered (ERFA)|
|JoJo Natson||KR/PR||ERFA||Tendered (ERFA)|
|Kevin Peterson||CB||ERFA||Tendered (ERFA)|
|Lamarcus Joyner||S||UFA||Signed by OAK|
|Rodger Saffold||OL||UFA||Signed by TEN|
Some really interested decisions forthcoming. Brown and starting LG Rodger Saffold were already interesting in this respect since the Rams re-signed RT Rob Havenstein back in August (the key part being that they didn’t re-sign Saff or Brown then...or to this point).
A bunch of key defenders in the mix here as well from guys I expect to be gone like DL Ndamukong Suh and S Lamarcus Joyner to a ton of rotational guys like Fowler, EDGE Matt Longacre, CB Sam Shields and ILB Ramik Wilson.
And while QB Sean Mannion might not leap off the page as the biggest name, backup quarterback remains one of the most important positions to staff on the depth chart. Should the Rams opt to move on from the Human Somewhere on this Earth, that will be a major staffing decision.
2019 NFL Draft
So the trade for Fowler will cost the Rams two picks: a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick.
The third round pick will be the highest compensatory pick the Rams receive as long as they receive one in the third; otherwise, they will get the Rams’ natural pick in the third. They will also get the Rams’ 2020 fifth-round pick regardless of compensatory outcome. The Rams are expected to get comp picks for WR Sammy Watkins and CB Trumaine Johnson; both could net third-rounders. The Rams also have two other players to qualify for comp picks in S Cody Davis who signed with the Jags and TE Derek Carrier who signed with the Oakland Raiders. None of the Rams’ additions this year cancel out any picks as WR Brandin Cooks, CB Marcus Peters and CB Aqib Talib all arrived via trade while DL Ndamukong Suh was released by his previous team and thus does not qualify.
Fowler, should he not be re-signed and leave in free agency, would net a comp pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
So before getting comp picks, here’s the Rams’ current 2019 draft haul:
2019 NFL Draft LA Rams Order
|2||61||29||Via Chiefs||Taylor Rapp||S||Washington|
|3||70||6||Via Buccaneers||Darrell Henderson||RB||Memphis|
|3||79||15||Via Falcons||David Long||CB||Michigan|
|3||97||33||Via Patriots||Bobby Evans||OL||Oklahoma|
|4||134||32||Via Patriots||Greg Gaines||DT||Washington|
|5||169||31||Rams pick||David Edwards||OT||Wisconsin|
|7||243||29||Via Patriots||Nick Scott||S||Penn State|
|7||251||37||Comp pick||Dakota Allen||LB||Texas Tech|
The Rams’ second-round pick was part of the trade for Peters. The third-round pick is on the hook for Fowler, and the seventh-rounder was included in the package to send LB Alec Ogletree to the New York Giants.
The Rams remain all-in on their effort to maximize their chances to succeed in this window built on the inexpensive rookie contracts from their stars they picked up in the last four years.
So while we’re focused on the task ahead as the playoff picture begins to sharpen, keep in mind the Rams are concurrently developing their plans for the 2019 offseason to ensure the window stays open for years to come.