Alright folks, we’re one sleep away from the NFL’s legal tampering period in free agency. That means some handshake deals are about to go down, and the Los Angeles Rams could be involved as they’re slated to have around $30m in cap space to work with. Having cap space is a good thing, though it generally means you’re likely to have some holes on your roster. They most high profile Rams set to hit free agency are DT Ndamukong Suh, FS Lamarcus Joyner, LG Rodger Saffold, and OLB Dante Fowler Jr, barring any last minute miracles.
Let’s take a look at some of the options the Rams could look to add:
As we mentioned earlier, Fowler is likely to test the market which should be relatively strong as he’s only 24-years old and plays a premier position. If his services retain too high of a bid for the Rams to compete with, they could look to replace him as many quality pass rushers are upcoming free agents. The ideal replacements are Shaquil Barrett from the Denver Broncos and Za’Darius Smith from the Baltimore Ravens. Both are relatively young (26/27) and can affect the game as run-stuffers and pass-rushers. If both players are too pricey for the Rams, they could choose to go the veteran route and add a 37-year old like Cameron Wake from the Miami Dolphins, or a 36-year old Terrell Suggs from the Ravens.
There’s only one option in this pool, and that’s Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr. Barr is only 26-years old, though he could very well have a robust market. Barr is a four-time pro bowler who’s largely played off-ball linebacker in his five-years in the league, though he could very well kick to the edge and make a massive impact there too. Barr would be a fun piece for Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips to work with, but his price tag will likely be enormous.
Cornerback isn’t really an immediate need as the Rams will have all three of their starting trio in Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Nickell Robey-Coleman return, though two of the three are free agents in 2020. I wouldn’t expect anything expensive at cornerback — maybe even just a draft pick — but two veteran options who shouldn’t be costly but could provide a lot of value are the Cleveland Browns’ (and former ram) E.J. Gaines, and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Jason Verrett. Both guys are 27-years old and injury prone.
The Rams recently declined C John Sullivan’s option, sending him to free agency and opening at hole at center. I sure hope offensive line doesn’t become a larger need with Rodger Saffold potentially leaving, but it looks more likely by the day. Anyways, if Saffold does depart, two guys I’d be interested in are Denver Broncos’ center Matt Paradis and Tennessee Titans’ OG Quinton Spain. Paradis is a 29-year old who’s recovering from a serious injury, though he’d fit perfectly in a zone-blocking scheme. Spain is 27-years old and has started 48 games for the Titans in the past four years.
The player with the most logical connection here is former Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars DT Malik Jackson. Jackson spent one season with Wade Phillips in Denver prior to signing a massive deal with the Jagurs. The Rams will allow Ndamukong Suh to test the market, so there could be some interest there.
The dawn of a new season is ahead of us, so sit tight... because moves are about to be made.