The Los Angeles Rams have tendered contracts for linebacker Travin Howard and center Coleman Shelton. Players with three or fewer accrued NFL seasons are unable to become unrestricted free agents. As exclusive rights free agents, if the Rams offer a one-year contract at the league minimum (based on his credited seasons), the player cannot negotiate with other teams.
Rams LB Travin Howard
Howard was a seventh-round selection in 2018. Prior to last season it was thoughts that Howard could compete for a starting linebacker position. However, in training camp, the former seventh rounder suffered a season-ending injury, ending his year.
Many were excited about Howard as a possible starter entering last offseason. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending meniscus tear in camp. In 2019, Howard tallied 22 tackles in 16 games. He saw most of his action in the season’s final five games.
Howard had back-to-back games with season-high four tackles in wins against the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. He played 52% of the defensive snaps in the team’s first meeting against the Cardinals and then played in 50% of the team’s snaps in the season finale. Howard’s best game came against Seattle where Pro Football Focus gave him an overall grade of 67.9.
For most of the year, Howard was a large contributor on special team. With the team’s lack of depth at linebacker, it makes sense for the Rams to bring Howard back to at least compete for a spot, whether that be starting or just on the roster. At the very least, he can contribute on special teams and then fill in on defense when necessary.
C Coleman Shelton
Shelton meanwhile, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019, played on special teams in 2020 and backed up center Austin Blythe along with Brian Allen. With Blythe set to hit the free agent market and the Rams’ lack of depth at center, it makes sense for the team to bring back Shelton.