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Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead: ILB Cory Littleton, RB Malcolm Brown, DB Blake Countess all in process of being tendered with decision to come on CB Troy Hill

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It sounds like the Rams are beginning to move on some of their core role players.

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This comes as a shock to absolutely nobody, but Los Angeles Rams General Manager Les Snead said today the Rams are “in the process” of placing a second-round tender on ILB Cory Littleton along with original-round tenders on RB Malcolm Brown and DB Blake Countess while still working on a decision on CB Troy Hill.

The moves are a strong reminder of the breadth and impact of the role players they have heading toward free agency this offseason.

The Rams have the ability to place a tender on Littleton, because he is a restricted free agent. The tender levels for 2019 have a second-round tender at $3.095m with original-round tenders at $2.025m. Because all three were undrafted free agents as rookies, only Littleton would net a pick in return due to his tender level; should a team make an offer for Littleton and the Rams turn down their opportunity to match, that team would have to send the Rams a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The three tenders in sum would cost a little more than $7m against the cap. Keeping Hill or any other role players along with the Rams’ draft class would just about fill out their cap for 2019 along with the signing of S Eric Weddle and the one-year deal for EDGE Dante Fowler Jr.

Littleton is the defensive signal caller and put forth a very productive year in 2018 as he registered 125 tackles, four sacks, one safety, 13 pass deflections, three interceptions, and one touchdown in his first season as a starter. Originally an undrafted outside linebacker, Littleton started his career as a special teams specialist, though his transition to starting inside linebacker has went relatively smooth thus far.

Littleton’s running mate Mark Barron was released elevating Micah Kiser into a starting role next to Littleton.

Brown’s return could well signal a decision on the Rams’ part not to re-sign RB C.J. Anderson. The Rams didn’t immediately sign Meatball after Brown’s injury; it wasn’t until RB Todd Gurley further aggravated his knee in Week 15 that the Rams brought in Anderson.

Countess has been a mainstay on special teams in his three seasons with occasional defensive contributions.

Most interestingly might be Hill who has played the most football of the four with the Rams. Hill took on a starting role late in 2017 after CB Kayvon Webster went down and did this same in 2018 when CB Aqib Talib missed the middle half of the season.