The Rams are in a very good position this off-season to make serious strides from division champ to Super Bowl contender. As it stands right now according to Fanspeak.Com , the Rams go into free agency with 66 million under the cap. For it to be a truly A+ off-season here what the Rams should do, including my mock draft 2.0!!!
Starting cap number – 66 Million
Restructure the contracts of Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers which saves 10 million – 76 million
Trade Tavon Austin and Mark Barron and cut Sean Mannion saving another 11 million – 87 millon
So 87 million and now we work to resign or extend our own players
1. We get the big one out of the way first. Aaron Donald becomes the highest paid defensive player in football. 6 yrs, 125 million. So we are down to 67 million.
2. Then instead of tagging him at 17 million, we sign Sammy Watkins to a 5 year, 60 million dollar deal. Down to 55 million
2. Give John Sullivan his last contract. He earned it. 3 years, 7.5 million. Down to 53.5
3. Reward LaMarcus Joyner for being the most consistent player in our secondary. 6 years, 48 million. Takes us to 45.5 million
4. Then you resign Tyrunn Walker, Nickell Robey-Coleman and Ethan Westbrooks to deals totaling 8 million for 2018. We sit at 37.5 million
Now we look at players from other rosters in free agency. There are a few spots to fills. We need LB help, CB’s, a true NT and a backup QB
1. Instead of giving Trumaine Johnson 14-15 million over 6 years, the Rams sign Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara to matching 5 year, 25 million dollar deals. 10 million gone. 27.5 million
2. How about a run stuffing NT?? Dontari Poe signs with the Rams for 3 years at 5.5 million per year. Down to 22.5
4. And a solid veteran backup QB in Blaine Gabbert at a low price of 1 year for 3 million. Leaves us with 18.5 million under the cap.
Now the REAL fun…. the 2018 NFL Draft!!
Here are my projected trades
1. Trade #23 to Pittsburgh (who covets Rashaan Evans even more than the player I want) for #28 and a 2nd round pick.
2, Trade that 2nd round pick to New England for #63 and 4th round pick
3. Trade Mark Barron for a 4th round pick
4. Trade Tavon Austin for a 7th round pick and a conditional 2019 pick
So that leaves us with a draft that looks like this
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th, 6th, 7th
So with that, here is how I see the draft shaking out:
1st- Malik Jefferson, LB Texas – If Jefferson is gone, you grab the best CB available like Jaire Alexander
2nd- Isaiah Oliver CB Colorado – If you went CB in the 1st, grab Will Hernandez OG UTEP
3rd – Lorenzo Carter, Edge, Georgia
4th – James Daniels C/OG Iowa
4th – Micah Kiser ILB Virginia if you went CB in the 1st or Jaylyn Holmes DE Ohio St if you got Jefferson
4th – Tony Brown CB Alabama
5th – Geron Christian OT Louisville
6th – Jordan Whitehead S, Pittsburgh
6th – DuVont’a Lampkin DT Oklahoma
6th – Emmanual Butler WR Northern Arizona (draft profile coming soon)
7th – Martez Carter RB Grambling
Obviously, I am not in the War Room but if Free Agency and the draft play out like this, the Rams will set up both in the short term for playoff runs, but also for the future with top level players to replace guys like Whitworth, Sullivan and Quinn.