MMQB’s Andy Benoit has a look at the NFL free agency landscape by position identifying which players he believes would be “difference makers” and which would be just significant options at the position with some potential cap casualties.
Overall, it’s a decently thorough look at the market, though Benoit has, as any analyst has, certainly missed the mark before in his evaluation. Remember when he said the 2015 St. Louis Rams had the best defense in the NFL? Yeah, no...
Here’s how he sees the Rams that he listed (age in parentheses):
WR Sammy Watkins (24) - difference maker
Certainly better than his 593 yards in 2017 suggest, but he’s not a true No. 1 receiver. If he avoids the franchise tag, his open market value will be fascinating to see.
C John Sullivan (32) - significant free agent
His football IQ is off the charts, which was huge for the Rams and young QB Jared Goff last year.
OLB Connor Barwin (31) - significant free agent
At this point he’s the duct tape or WD-40 of football players. As a complementary short-term problem-solving piece, and he’s excellent, both in a 4-3 and a 3-4. But if you need a building block (even a short-term one), look elsewhere.
DL Tyrunn Walker (28) - significant free agent
He only played 15-20 snaps a game off the bench, but always stood out on film.
CB Trumaine Johnson (28) - difference maker
He has traveled with No. 1 receivers at times in recent years and won more battles than he’s lost. That he can travel in man and zone coverage should raise his value.
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (26) - significant free agent
He’s at his best in attack-mode, including on slot blitzes. Considering this and his adequacy in man coverage, a pressure-based defense should want him.
S Lamarcus Joyner (27) - difference maker
A rangy centerfielder who can cover certain slot receivers in base defense; he’s undersized, but he’s also one of football’s nastiest hitters.
Here’s the full list of Rams set to hit free agency on March 14:
2018 LA Rams Free Agents
|Derek Carrier||TE||UFA||Signed with Raiders: 3yr|
|Cody Davis||S||UFA||Signed with Jaguars: 2yr|
|Dominique Easley||DT||UFA||Re-signed with Rams: 1yr|
|Trumaine Johnson||CB||UFA||Signed with Jets: 3yr|
|Jake McQuaide||LS||UFA||Re-signed with Rams: 3yr|
|Nickell Robey-Coleman||CB||UFA||Re-signed with Rams: 3yr|
|John Sullivan||C||UFA||Re-signed with Rams: 2yr|
|Sammy Watkins||WR||UFA||Signed with Chiefs: 3yr|
|Garrett Sickels||OLB||ERFA||Re-signed with Rams: TBD|