Free agency begins today following the two-day tampering period and a ton of rumors across the NFL.
For the Los Angeles Rams, we’ve already announced the signing of S Eric Weddle and the tender of nine free agents who were either restricted free agents or exclusive rights free agents. The Rams also were able to come to terms with EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr., who will likely sign the deal today and make his return official on a one-year deal.
But for fans looking for another splashy deal, they’re likely to be disappointed today as the Rams simply don’t have much money to work with moving forward.
OverTheCap has the Rams with $8,767,895 remaining in cap space while Spotrac puts the number at $9,563,193. Factoring in somewhere around $7.5m for the Rams’ 2019 NFL Draft class, and you’re not talking about a ton of available funds.
The Rams could always churn the back half of the roster for some available money. And restructuring some existing deals is always an option. But for the most part, the Rams are just about done in free agency just as we’re beginning.
If I were making a bet, I’d start by looking at the Rams’ impending UFA class:
2019 LA Rams impending free agents
|Dante Fowler, Jr.||EGDE||UFA|
Yes, we can likely assume that LG Rodger Saffold III, DL Ndamukong Suh and S Lamarcus Joyner are all gone. And yes, as mentioned, Fowler’s about to come back on a one-year look.
But the rest of those options offer a possible way forward over the next week or two. Backup QB remains a pretty severe roster gap. As expensive as it can be to fill with a veteran, the Rams are likely to fill it with a draft pick or UDFA along with the deep FA waters perhaps to be stocked by some AAF players. While RB C.J. Anderson’s production late in the regular season and into the playoffs has made him popular among the fan base, I’m not sure it would be a prudent move especially now that the Rams have tendered RB Malcolm Brown.
So I’d look at a couple of Rams from 2018: DE Dominique Easley, ILB Bryce Hager, CB Sam Shields, DE Ethan Westbrooks and ILB Ramik Wilson. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams brought one of those guys back.
I’d also allow some expectation for the Rams to find one of those types on the market the way they did with Wilson and Shields last year. But a CB Cody Sensbaugh or OLB Connor Barwin, like the Weddle signing, is too expensive at this point.
That’s not a bad thing either despite how uncomfortable it might feel to some fans. The Rams are spending more than $40m on a half dozen players they had in 2018. That’s essentially where their salary cap went this year.
So fret not. The roster’s in great shape for years to come. If the Rams can draft well with their primary draft capital this year and next, there’s no reason to think the roster will inhibit their ability to win.
But as things stand heading into free agency today, the Rams aren’t likely to do much to attract attention.
For a team coming out of the Super Bowl, that’s just fine.