The poaching could potentially begin among the Los Angeles Rams’ restricted free agents as RB Malcolm Brown is visiting the Detroit Lions today, per Ben Volin:
I'm told the Lions have a couple of players in for free agent visits: Former Saints WR/KR Tommylee Lewis and former Rams RB Malcolm Brown— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 15, 2019
Brown has been with the Rams since 2015 when he entered the league as an undrafted free agent. Brown worked his way up into a meaningful role the past two seasons as the primary backup to RB Todd Gurley. Even though he only appeared in 12 games in 2018, Brown actually had a productive season as he maneuvered his way to 212 rushing yards (4.9 yards-per-carry) and 52 receiving yards. He also had a spectacular receiving touchdown where he toe-tapped the sidelines.
In early December, Brown was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury that effectively ended his season. The Rams ended up signing RB C.J. Anderson who had a fantastic finish to the year as Gurley’s health was limiting him.
The issue at play isn’t that Brown isn’t a replaceable talent, it’s that the recent health scares of Gurley’s knee are a major factor at hand. The Rams will need a suitable backup who can shoulder some of the load moving forward, and the only current running backs on the Rams’ roster are second-year RB John Kelly, and third-year UDFA Justin Davis.
As for Brown, he’s a restricted free agent this offseason, and the Rams tendered him with an original-round tender. That means the Lions are allowed to sign him to a contract, but the Rams have the right to match it and retain his services. If the Rams choose to let Brown leave, they wont receive any compensation. And if the Lions choose not to offer him a contract, he’ll return to the Rams by default.
The Detroit Lions have signed Malcolm Brown to an offer sheet. The Rams now have the choice to match the contract, or let Brown walk for nothing:
Restricted free agent action: the Lions have signed Rams RB Malcolm Brown to an offer sheet, per source. The Rams have until Monday to match it.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 19, 2019