The Los Angeles Rams signed running back Royce Freeman on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the surprise retirement of Sony Michel. Head coach Sean McVay told reporters on Saturday that Michel informed the team that he was retiring and that the Rams would add to the running back depth shortly thereafter. He wasn’t kidding, that was fast.
Freeman now joins a room headlined by Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, and rookie Zach Evans and will compete to make the final 53-man roster, if not the practice squad.
A third round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2018, the same year that Michel was drafted, Freeman had 521 yards as a rookie playing alongside Melvin Gordon. He had 496 yards in year two and then saw his role reduced in 2020, gaining just 170 yards and no touchdowns. He had a career-high 43 catches for 256 yards in 2019, so Freeman has proven adept at catching the ball, but he hasn’t had much of a role in the NFL over the past two seasons. Freeman played for the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans in 2021, totaling 56 carries for 169 yards, and then he played backup to Damien Pierce on the Texans in 2022.
Freeman had 41 carries for 117 yards over four games last season.