The Los Angeles Rams will have limited cap space in free agency. As it stands they have are approximately $25M over the cap. In order to even start thinking about signing players, the Rams will have to make moves to open up cap space. The Rams had a good core group of players last season and will try their best to bring them back. Here are the five free agents that the Rams must re-sign this offseason.
Darious Williams is a restricted free agent, but he should be priority number one for the Los Angeles Rams. The team doesn’t have a first round pick, but they will almost certainly put a first-round tender on Williams. What that means is that the Rams will have to pay Williams a first round price tag in order to keep Williams. Other teams can make an offer to Williams, but the Rams will have the option to match the offer. If the Rams don’t match, then that team would owe the Rams a first-round pick.
As an undrafted free agent in 2018, Williams really came into his own last season. He led the Rams defense with four interceptions during the regular season. He also had the game-changing play against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card that resulted in a defensive touchdown.
iOL Austin Blythe
It has been a common thought that the Rams need to upgrade from Austin Blythe. Maybe that is the case, but it’s easier said than done. There won’t be a free agent that costs as low as Blythe will and there is maybe one center in the draft that could give the Rams around the same level of play.
The Los Angeles Rams aren’t going to be able to draft a center in the 3rd or 5th round and have them come in and be better than Blythe. It’s hard-pressed enough to think that a center in the second round at 52 overall will do that. The exception MIGHT be Creed Humphrey. Blythe needs to improve in pass blocking and get stronger, but he was the 9th-rated center in the NFL last season according to Pro Football Focus. PFF isn’t the end-all, be-all by any means, but the point is, NFL teams can do a lot worse than Blythe especially when one of the potential alternatives is Brian Allen.
EDGE Leonard Floyd
The Los Angeles Rams are going to make a strong run at trying to bring back Leonard Floyd. You could make the case that Aaron Donald created a lot of opportunities for Floyd as he did for Dante Fowler Jr. However, Floyd’s effect in the run game can not be understated.
His 11 tackles for loss ranked second on the team behind only Aaron Donald as well as his 10.5 sacks. Floyd could follow Brandon Staley to the Chargers where he’ll get the same level of help from Joey Bosa.
S John Johnson III
There is no question that like Donald, Johnson’s effect on the defense goes beyond the stat sheet. He’s simply a leader in the secondary and the player that makes the calls and has the green dot on the back of his helmet. Johnson is the player that essentially clinched the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints.
However, in four years, Johnson has not made a Pro Bowl or earned an all-pro selection. He missed 10 games in 2019 and had just one interception last season. Johnson led the defense in tackles, but the Los Angeles Rams might think that they can get this same level of production elsewhere. The Rams might make a run at Johnson, and if they feel they need to, they can use the franchise tag for around $11M. However, a team could pay upwards of $14M/year for the Rams safety and that’s a price that Les Snead and Co. won’t pay.
DE Morgan Fox
It’s really difficult to pick a fifth, because everybody else the Los Angeles Rams have replacements already on the roster or could replace in the draft. That could very well be the case for Fox as well. However, Fox is another undrafted free agent that has really turned into a solid player on defense. He’s been a very good rotational player on the defensive line behind Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, and A’Shawn Robinson.
Last season, Fox ranked third on the team in tackles for loss and third on the team in sacks. In fact, he was number two in sacks on the defensive line behind Donald. Fox’s nine quarterback hits also ranked fourth on the team. He’s been good depth, but there is a chance that another team could bring him in and give him a chance to start. Fox is probably not on the team next season, but he should a player that the Rams consider bringing back if they can find the cap space.