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Which Rams could follow departed Sean McVay assistants?

There are four teams who have ties to the 2020 Rams now

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

You have heard it plenty of times over the last month: Sean McVay’s coaching staff next season is going to look exceptionally different. Even for Sean McVay’s coaching staff.

The mutual departure of offensive line coach Aaron Kromer last week served as the seventh assistant from LA’s team last season to depart in 2021. Former McVay assistants are now head coaches of three NFL teams (the Packers, the Bengals, the Chargers), plus running one offense (the Seahawks), one defense (the Packers), and one special teams unit (the Cowboys).

Will any of 2021’s departures result in key Rams free agents joining them next season?

Yes, probably.

The Los Angeles Chargers - Head coach Brandon Staley

Previous position: Rams defensive coordinator

Rams free agent fits:

  • S John Johnson
  • LB Leonard Floyd
  • LB Samson Ebukam
  • CB Troy Hill
  • CB Darious Williams (RFA)
  • C Austin Blythe
  • TE Gerald Everett

Notes:

Floyd will make the most sense because he’s already followed Staley once. The Chargers could lose outside linebacker Melvin Ingram at the right time for Floyd to step in.

LAC could feel comfortable at safety already with Derwin James and 2019 second round pick Nasir Adderley, but Johnson called plays for Staley on the field and might make the transition that much easier with regards to getting the defense on the same page.

Assuming that Casey Hayward and Chris Harris are not cap casualties, the Chargers shouldn’t have a need for Hill or Williams. However, Hill might make sense as a Michael Davis replacement and he shouldn’t be expensive.

LA needs a new center with Mike Pouncey’s retirement and tight ends Hunter Henry and Virgil Green are both free agents. Henry could get the franchise tag and the Chargers are not expected to let him go, but Everett might work as a Green-replacement. Blythe could get pulled in various directions if he isn’t re-signed by the Rams, given the dearth of starting centers available.

The Seattle Seahawks - Offensive Coordinator Shane Waldron, run game coordinator Andy Dickerson

Previous position: Rams pass game coordinator and run game coordinator, respectively

Rams free agent fits:

  • TE Gerald Everett
  • RB Malcolm Brown
  • C Austin Blythe
  • WR Josh Reynolds

Notes:

The Seahawks have already been linked to Everett once. It appears that if Seattle pushes the chips in on any position this offseason, it will be tight end. Everett might be their third choice after Zach Ertz and Jonnu Smith.

Center Ethan Pocic is a free agent, again pulling Blythe in a direction if LA doesn’t re-sign him. Brown won’t be a notable signing necessarily, but Seattle has a need at running back and Brown should be a cheap option who can help Dickerson and Waldron pass their styles along.

Reynolds might wind up back with Waldron also, given that the Seahawks currently have no receivers behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett who have played significant NFL snaps other than 2020 sixth rounder Freddie Swain.

The Green Bay Packers - Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry

Previous position: Rams linebackers/assistant head coach

Rams free agent fits:

  • LB Samson Ebukam
  • CB Troy Hill
  • CB Darious Williams (RFA)
  • DE Morgan Fox
  • C Austin Blythe
  • RB Malcolm Brown
  • TE Gerald Everett

Notes:

The offensive players, like with the Chargers, are not necessarily player-to-coach connections. Barry won’t coach Blythe or Brown or Everett directly. But he should have insight necessary for Green Bay to decide if those players can help them fill current holes on the Packers roster.

I didn’t put Leonard Floyd here because even if Green Bay does cut Preston Smith to save $8 million, I can’t imagine why they’d turn around and spend it on Floyd. Ebukam would cost a lot less and be a depth piece to consider for the rotation.

The Packers have a need at corner and I only imagine them going after someone like Williams under special circumstances. This is a loose connection and neither player necessarily fits the bill here.

Fox would fill Green Bay’s need for depth along the defensive line and he might even win a starting job next to Kenny Clark if he signed there.

The Packers are also going through a potential transition at center: Corey Linsley is going to be an expensive free agent. Green Bay also has three running back free agents (Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Tyler Ervin) and tight end Marcedes Lewis is also hitting the market.

The Detroit Lions - Defensive Backs and Passing Game Coordinator Aubrey Pleasant

Previous position: Rams cornerbacks coach

Rams free agent fits:

  • CB Troy Hill
  • S John Johnson
  • WR Josh Reynolds
  • RB Malcolm Brown

Notes:

I’m not ruling anything out here, but keep in mind that Detroit doesn’t intend to make the playoffs — or close to it — in 2021. Names like Leonard Floyd wouldn’t make sense to me here. Hill would only make sense if the Lions wanted to offer him the largest contract as a way for Pleasant to have a smoother transition with a quality veteran to group with 2020 third overall pick Jeffrey Okudah.

Similarly, Darious Williams might seem “new” but he’ll be 28 when free agent begins. He’s by no means “young” and I don’t see why they’d make any sacrifices to sign him.

But because John Johnson is young (25) and the Lions have a major hole at safety, general manager Brad Holmes (the other LA connection here) might be willing to spend big for his services.

The dearth of receivers on the Lions is even more dramatic though: only 2020 fifth rounder Quintez Cephus is under contract for next season. Reynolds and Brown are more familiar with Jared Goff then any skill players on the market this year. Blythe might be a consideration as a guard.