The Los Angeles Rams will head into free agency next week with the rest of the NFL. However, don’t expect the Rams to be big players in the free agent market like they have in years past. With limited cap space and all focus on re-opening a window in 2024, signing big-name free agents seems unlikely.
According to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, it would be tough to see the Rams being competitive once the free agent market opens. Rodrigue said,
“Never say “never” with the Rams, but it’s hard to see them being competitive in free agency in 2023, with their eyes on 2024. Their biggest “moves” could end up being the retention of select in-house players, or players possibly acquired via trade. The latter, especially where a possible Ramsey trade is concerned, is something to keep an eye on. That said, there has been chatter about the possibility of picking up veteran rotational players at positions that wouldn’t affect their compensatory pick math. Running back, interior offensive line and outside linebacker are all options that have been discussed internally. All three positions would also likely be addressed via the draft.”
This should seem quite obvious given that the Rams are still over the cap with less than a week to go before free agency is set to open. However, with that said, it’s important to set expectations for what the Rams are able to do over the next month.
Even if they are able to trade Jalen Ramsey, cut Leonard Floyd, and move on from Allen Robinson, much of that cap-savings would be minimal and have more of an impact on the 2024 offseason.
This doesn’t mean that the Rams aren’t going to be able to do anything in free agency, only that it would be very difficult for the front office to maneuver contracts in a way that would allow them to bring in one of the top-10 or 15 names currently on the free agent market.
In all likelihood, the Rams are going to be targeting mid-level players and particularly those who have been cut and won’t effect the compensatory pick formula. Adding depth will be the primary focus.
Just looking at the positions that Rodrigue mentions i.e. running back, interior offensive line, and outside linebacker, the Rams could be looking at players such as guard Nate Herbig, running back Jeff Wilson Jr., or an outside linebacker such as Robert Quinn or Yannick Ngakoue.
It will be interesting to see what the Rams do during the free agency period. However, with the future in mind and wanting a clean salary cap for 2024, it seems unlikely that they’ll hand out any large contracts to a big-name player.