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How the trade for EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr. affects Los Angeles Rams’ 2019 offseason plans

Adding Fowler doesn’t just impact the depth chart for Week 9 as the Rams head to New Orleans. It also changes their plans for the 2019 NFL Draft and free agency period of the offseason.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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

Player POS Type Outcome
Player POS Type Outcome
Tavon Austin WR UFA Traded
Jamon Brown G UFA Waived
Kayvon Webster CB UFA Released
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
C.J. Anderson RB UFA
Dominique Easley EDGE UFA
Bryce Hager ILB UFA
Matt Longacre OLB UFA
Sean Mannion QB UFA
Sam Shields CB UFA
Ndamukong Suh DL UFA
Ethan Westbrooks DE UFA
Ramik Wilson ILB UFA
Garrett Sickels OLB ERFA

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

Rd # Rd# Pick Player POS School
Rd # Rd# Pick Player POS School
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.