Is it too soon to start gauging the 2019 free agency market? For the 28 teams watching the conference championships from their couches this weekend, the answer is certainly, “No.”
So as we get ready to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, let’s take stock of two recent lists of the top 2019 FAs and where they list some of our Los Angeles Rams — a top 50 list from ESPN (ESPN+ paywall) and a top 25 list from NFL.com.
Know of a team that might be looking for EDGE help? The Rams will almost certainly be among the teams interested in Houston Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney (ESPN #4, NFL #3), Seattle Seahawks DE Frank Clark (ESPN #5, NFL #8), Kansas City Chiefs DE/LB Dee Ford (ESPN #3, NFL #7) and/or Detroit Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah (ESPN #17, NFL N/A).
And that begins our look at the Rams on the list with EDGE Dante Fowler Jr. He’s the highest listed Ram on the ESPN list at #26 though he doesn’t make NFL Media’s cut. S Lamarcus Joyner is the highest-listed Ram on the NFL list at #15 and #32 per ESPN. Divisional playoff hero DT Ndamukong Suh lands at #40 for ESPN, #18 for NFL. RG Rodger Saffold makes NFL’s “notable omission” list but isn’t on ESPN’s.
I’d expect the Rams to make an effort to retain both Fowler and Suh although DT Grady Jarrett would be quite a youth infusion along the DL; I’d bet they let Joyner walk. Potential replacements for Joyner who underwhelmed in 2018 after a strong 2017 campaign include S Landon Collins and S Earl Thomas, who would no doubt love nothing more than a chance to play Seattle twice a year. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix might also be in play here. Saffold has hinted at a “hometown discount” to return to the team.
A good number of these guys will be franchised or extended, but it’s a solid crop for the Rams at need spots like DE, S and LB featuring the likes of LB Kwon Alexander, LB C.J. Mosley and LB Anthony Barr set to test the market.
Should LT Andrew Whitworth call it a career, there will be a handful of solid though expensive offensive tackles available headlined by New England Patriots OT Trent Brown.
We’re not officially in offseason mode yet, but I’m sure Rams GM Les Snead has his shopping list ready to roll, as the negotiating period begins March 11, with free agency officially set to open March 13.