Linebacker Cory Littleton is arguably the Rams’ best pending free agent. He’s No. 1 for me.
But because the Rams have other needs and have less than $15 million in projected salary cap room, it will be difficult for them to keep Littleton — who transformed from an undrafted free agent to a strong tackler — as a starting inside linebacker.
Beside the Rams’ cap restraints, Littleton is going to be difficult to keep because there will be a big demand for his services. He is probably a top 20 free agent. After all the franchise tags are used, he may even be a top 12 to 15 free agent.
So expect his market to be swift. The word is that his name was bandied about a lot in Indy at the NFL combine last week.
Here are some teams to consider as the Rams’ biggest threats to pry away Littleton:
Carolina: The Panthers are going to make a lot of changes. One need is to replace the suddenly-retired Luke Kuechly.
Cleveland: The Browns are letting Joe Schobert go to free agency. Littleton may be a better player. The Browns have $70 million in cap room.
Detroit: The Lions have big needs on defense, and coach Matt Patricia would likely love to add a tackle machine like Littleton. The Lions have plenty of cap room, too.
Green Bay: Sports Illustrated reports that Littleton is at the top of the Packers’ wish list at linebacker. Littleton is a better player than Green Bay starter Blake Martinez, who is also a free agent. The Packers, who have changed their ways and have become free-agent players in recent years, have $20 million in cap room. Thus, they can fit in Littleton.
Las Vegas: The Raiders have more than $50 million in cap room and a big need at linebacker. Littleton is from the West Coast, so the locale of Las Vegas and the fact that there are no state taxes in Nevada may appeal to him.
New York Giants: The Giants have a big need at the position and have $73 million in cap room. Littleton could switch coasts.
Where do you think he’ll land?