Justis Mosqueda recently released an article for Bleacher Report where he outlines one offseason move every NFL team could regret. The transaction Justis chose for the Los Angeles Rams was re-signing edge Dante Fowler Jr to a one-year $12m contract that could reach $14m depending on incentives:
Wrote 8k words about the offseason. At some point, I said something not nice about your football team.https://t.co/ftWYp8tTVb— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) March 19, 2019
Here’s a very interesting blurb where Justis compares Fowler to other edge rushers in his price range:
Here are the top cap hits for 3-4 edge defenders in the 2019 season:
Von Miller: $25.1 million
Melvin Ingram: $19.6 million
Jadeveon Clowney: $15.4 million
Dee Ford: $14.6 million
Ryan Kerrigan: $14.0 million
Robert Quinn: $12.9 million
Dante Fowler Jr.: $12.0 million
Khalil Mack: $11.9 million
This group of defenders has averaged 0.61 sacks per game and 0.79 tackles for loss per game over the last three seasons. Fowler, with the lowest mark in both categories, has averaged just 0.34 sacks per game and 0.38 tackles for loss per game since 2016. That’s only about half the production on a per-game basis of a 3-4 outside linebacker at the rate Fowler was re-signed for on a one-year deal.
The comparison is quite interesting because its clear that Fowler is the least accomplished of the aforementioned names, though only Fowler and Jadeveon Clowney are on one-year deals with the remaining names signed to long-term contracts. That’s relevant because more often than not a one-year deal will equate to an inflated price because of the lack of long-term security, just like the franchise tag.
Here’s another interest tidbit where Justis shows the slight improvement in Fowler since his time in horns:
His production (0.25 sacks and 0.50 tackles for loss per game) did not take great strides in Los Angeles.
The Rams paid a high price for a guy who simply hasn’t been as productive as his counterparts in terms of position, that much is true. The edge position on the depth chart certainly didn’t help as the penciled-in starters prior to re-signing Fowler were Samson Ebukam and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. The Rams also parted with a lot of capital (2019 third-round pick, 2020 fifth-round pick) to acquire Fowler at the trade deadline, and that would have made it hard to part after only eight games (11 including the playoffs).
Could the Rams regret this move? Maybe. History suggests they could, though it is only a one-year deal proving the Rams knew the risks and mitigated them as much as possible.