Last week, I highlighted five free agents who might interest the LA Rams for one reason or another. That list included three corners, a center, and a linebacker, all positions that could potentially use more reinforcements by next season. But that was only five players out of many names that the average NFL fan would recognize.
I asked for some more suggestions of free agents in the comments section of that piece. Let’s break down a few more remaining free agents who might interest Sean McVay and Les Snead.
Trai Turner, G
What a crazy and rapid fall it has been for Turner, especially given the position that he plays. If it was Michael Turner and he played running back, then as is the case with Todd Gurley, a lack of interest from teams in spite of his age would make sense. Or if Turner was a middling rotational utility man, then it could have been expected that he’d be seeking a new home as of June.
But Turner made every Pro Bowl roster from 2015 to 2019, establishing himself as one of the top guards in the NFL over the last half-decade, and he doesn’t even turn 28 until next week.
He might also have been the worst starter on the worst line in 2020.
The Carolina Panthers traded Turner to the LA Chargers for Russell Okung last year and even though he was going to one of the most desperate offensive lines in the league, Turner was unable to establish himself as a piece of their future. Turner has missed at least three games in five of his seven NFL seasons, including 16 games missed over the last four years combined. On top of injury issues, Turner isn’t being discussed as one of the top players at guard anymore and nobody was in a rush to give him another chance this offseason.
The Bengals were among the teams showing interest in Turner in March, but no deal was reached, and that could be because Turner was unaware of how dire things could get for him. He would now reportedly take between $2-$3 million for one season.
Was speaking to an NFL exec for a different story, but Trai Turner came up. He said Turner is still asking for $2-3M. Not sure how interested the Giants are, but that is likely out of their price range if they are.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) May 10, 2021
For context, 31-year-old journeyman guard Greg Van Roten is set to make $3.6 million from the New York Jets next year. Turner was supposed to be making at least $12 million per season by the time he reached his prime, but it looks as though his prime already happened. That might not be something Turner believes, but clearly the NFL has a different point of view.
The Rams could consider Turner, but probably only if Bobby Evans is a disappointment in camp or an injury happens. There would not appear to be any reason to shake up or disrupt what offensive line coach Kevin Carberry is attempting to create with the expected starting five (Andrew Whitworth, David Edwards, Austin Corbett, Bobby Evans, Rob Havenstein) by adding a player who would create some controversy on who should be starting. Not unless the team is forced to make a free agent decision first because of play or injury.
Above all else, Trai Turner is simply a name at this point. The odds of him being anything more than that — at least according to all 32 NFL teams — are low. The Chargers blog Bolt Beat wasn’t hesitant to call Turner the worst starter on LA’s offensive line. Yes, the worst starting offensive lineman for THE LA CHARGERS.
Kelechi Osemele, G
Adding in Osemele quickly because there’s nothing else to say about him that I didn’t say about Turner: If the Rams decide they need a guard, then maybe. I can’t possibly see any way to LA signing an offensive lineman until there is a more obvious and desperate need for one. Okay, not everybody loves the idea of Corbett and Evans yet, I guess. But the Rams clearly do.
The Chiefs offensive line took center focus this offseason but even then, Kansas City was not interested in a reunion with Osemele. Instead turning to Kyle Long even though he hasn’t played a full season since 2015 and is a year older than Osemele.
Vic Beasley, OLB
When a player is selected in the top-10, there is reason to celebrate for the immediate future. Less heralded is the part of the celebration where you get to extend your career probably 2-3 years longer than you deserved, should you become a disappointment in the short or long-term future.
Beasley was the eighth overall selection in the 2015 draft by the Falcons, the first pick in defensive-minded Dan Quinn’s tenure in Atlanta. His first two seasons went as planned and we all know this by now.
Over the four seasons since, Beasley has only established himself as a bottom-tier defensive end/outside linebacker for some of the worst defenses in the league. After playing in a career-high 73% of the snaps in 2019, and recording only 18 total pressures, Beasley was limited to just 125 snaps in five games with the Titans, then 73 snaps in five games with the Raiders.
He had zero sacks and one pressure.
Signing Beasley is giving money and an opportunity to a player because of something in his relatively deep past. I’m not comparing Beasley to Tim Tebow, because sure Beasley as at least an NFL player, but I don’t know how you can criticize the Jaguars for “taking a chance away from somebody else” without also asking why Beasley is meant to be a better option than some 24-year-old project from Canada or an undrafted free agent out of D-III.
Last year the Titans had Jadeveon Clowney and Beasley and the pair combined for zero sacks. This year the Titans ... traded for Julio Jones?
Beasley would be reunited with Raheem Morris if the Rams signed him. Finally, a chance to reunite Beasley with a coach who got a first-hand account of his descent from the sidelines.
Malik Hooker, S
“Former first round pick? Must be a steal!”
2017 - Double sports hernia surgery
2017 - Surgery to repair a torn labrum
2017 - Torn ACL
2018 - Hip injury
2019 - Foot injury
2019 - Torn meniscus
2020 - Torn Achilles
One thing I’ve learned after 10 years of daily NFL coverage is that people go crazy trying to talk themselves into players who can’t stay healthy. Send me some examples of “buy low” injury concerns that have worked out splendidly for those organizations. I’m not being facetious, but what are the examples? Lets see how many we can crowdsource.
The list of injury prone players who turned out to be injury prone is much longer though.
Injury prone signees, even if you think there’s a good plan to “stash them” until they’re healthy, still cost money and take up a spot on the roster. Do you think $2 million is better spent on a player who might not suit up in 2021 — including if that’s $2 million of cap space you now can’t roll over to 2022 — than a healthy player who wasn’t drafted in the first round and maybe let’s not hold that against him?
Melvin Ingram, OLB
Justin Houston, OLB
Everson Griffen, DE
The Rams traded Michael Brockers and opted to not re-sign Morgan Fox and the only corresponding moves happened on day three of the draft. Would a veteran edge player or linebacker be of significant help to Aaron Donald and Morris’s defense?
Ingram is 32 and he had zero sacks and zero tackles for a loss in seven games last season. He did make the Pro Bowl in 2017, 2018, and 2019, but his production and his health has gone down in each successive campaign. The marks were not that high when he was on the field in 2020 and similar to Turner, there didn’t appear to be many Chargers fans worried about his departure.
Damn I should have told them me and @juliojones_11 a package!!— KINGMEL (@MelvinIngram) June 6, 2021
Houston is also 32 and he’s had 19 sacks over the last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, with no games missed. But sack numbers can be rather hollow — as we’ve seen from some of Donald’s former teammates — and the Colts not only opted to let Houston test free agency: they drafted Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo with their first two selections this year. That emphasized a need to improve the edge rush for GM Chris Ballard, and this offseason has not been a strong endorsement for Houston as a key member for a team that appears to be falling behind the Titans in the AFC South.
Griffen is actually the oldest of the three — he turns 34 in December — but he might have had the strongest 2020 campaign. Even though he split it between the Cowboys and Lions. Griffen had 2.5 sacks and six QB hits in seven games for Dallas, then 3.5 sacks and eight QB hits in seven games for Detroit.
Available FAs...#NFLTwitter— Smart Football (@SmartfootbalI) June 1, 2021
Mitchell Schwartz, OT
Richard Sherman, CB
Justin Houston, EDGE
Geno Atkins, DL
Le'Veon Bell, RB
Jurrell Casey, DL
Kenny Vaccaro, S
Everson Griffen, EDGE
Malik Hooker, S
Alshon Jeffery, WR
Steven Nelson, CB
Rick Wagner, OT
Olivier Vernon, EDGE
But ... 34 in December.
Nobody at this point seems all that concerned with LA’s options on the edges. Maybe they should be. But for now, it looks like the team will let the Terrell Lewis pick play out — as noted with Hooker, it shouldn’t be surprising that Lewis’s knee concerns have now followed him for over 13 months since he became a member of the Rams — and see if one of the cheaper, young players turns out to be a force in the front-seven.
If that doesn’t work out, then there are actually quite a few edger rushers still on the market.
There are some more options to chew on. Which free agent names should we talk about next time?