After making splash free agent signings in receiver Allen Robinson and linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Los Angeles Rams have put the spending spree on hold - at least for now.
An important aspect of LA’s team building approach under general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay has been the manipulation of the compensatory selection formula in order to maximize the value of players they lose to free agency. The Rams are careful to not sign free agents with expiring deals from other teams, with very few exceptions - including Robinson this cycle.
After losing pass rusher Von Miller, corner Darious Williams, defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, and guard Austin Corbett to larger free agent deals, the Rams are once again expecting a sizeable haul in the form of compensatory draft selections. Robinson will offset the return to a certain extent, but overall LA will likely net bonus draft choices in the fourth and fifth rounds for 2023.
Wagner was released by the Seattle Seahawks, so he does not count against the compensatory formula in 2022. Los Angeles has used this approach in the past in order to avoid losing potential comp picks, and Wagner joins a list that includes Leonard Floyd and punter Riley Dixon over the last couple of offseasons.
There is a deadline for unrestricted free agents on expiring deals to count against the compensatory draft formula, and this historically has been the Monday following the NFL Draft at 1pm PT. This means that as of the afternoon on May 2nd the Rams can start signing unrestricted free agents without mitigating their return capital in terms of future compensatory draft picks.
Yep, you've got it down to the precise time.— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) April 14, 2022
Knowing the importance of compensatory draft selections to LA’s team building approach, it is entirely possible that the Rams are waiting for this important league milestone to pass before they make a move towards the remaining free agent pool.
This could be a risky move - as it gives the other NFL teams three weeks to sign the best of the remaining veteran talent on the market; however, given their limited draft capital in 2023, the Rams are somewhat forced into being patient.
Could the Rams make a push to sign reinforcements at EDGE defender after May 2nd? Jerry Hughes could be a solid rotational pass rusher and provide veteran guidance to a young trio of Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, and Chris Garrett.
Should Los Angeles consider adding a veteran piece to the secondary, such as Tryann Mathieu from the Kansas City Chiefs? The Rams have not invested heavily in the secondary outside of star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, so it’s unlikely the team would be willing to pay the market rate for Mathieu. Is the lure of helping LA “run it back” enough to add the veteran to an already star-studded roster?
Who would you like to see the Rams sign after May 2nd, or is there anyone currently on the open market that is worth signing in lieu of future compensatory draft picks? Let us know in the comments below.