While the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine begins this week placing much of the NFL world’s attention on the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s free agency which begins two weeks from tomorrow that will be the first step to re-shaping rosters ahead of the 2019 season.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, S Lamarcus Joyner is the top-rated Rams FA at #13 ahead of DL Ndamukong Suh at #21. OL Rodger Saffold III comes in at #35 while EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr., is #45. And ILB Cory Littleton , who is a restricted free agent compared to the other four who are unrestricted, makes the cut at #97. Should that market evaluation bear out, he’d be in for perhaps a strong tender in the RFA market; more on that in a couple of weeks.
For reference, here’s what the Rams are looking at from their own expiring contracts:
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|
That’s a ton to sort through. With all the role players the Rams have on expiring deals, sorting through that group will be the top priority. And now that LT Andrew Whitworth has informed the team he’s back for one last ride in 2019, the Rams just aren’t going to have much money to work with in free agency. Depending on how much of their role players they lock up, you’re looking at maybe re-signing one of our top free agents and then adding some low-tier veterans to fill out the roster. Of course, there’s the caveat of potential salary cap casualties or restructuring some deals to put some money back into the coffers, but as things stand the Rams are going to be pretty tight on things thanks largely to the monumental increase in salary of many of the Rams’ core players like RB Todd Gurley, WR Brandin Cooks, RT Rob Havenstein, DL Aaron Donald and CB Marcus Peters.
So while much of the NFL will be looking at the free agent market to restock their locker rooms, the Rams are in a position more of providing talent to those teams than being active themselves.
Such is the cost of the successful roster build the Rams have enjoyed in recent years.