The NFL’s tampering period begins exactly one week from today which allows team to being communicating with potential free agents. Over the last couple of years, the Rams haven’t been active in the first few days of free agency, allowing the big contract to settle down.
With minimal cap space to work with, that will most likely be the case once again this offseason. When all is said and done before next week, the Rams will have cap space. However, they just won’t have $15M to spend on one player. The Rams will be looking for bargain deals, which typically tend to be the best deal made in free agency.
Two players that have been matched up with the Rams are linebacker Jayon Brown and cornerback Desmond King.
Pro Football Focus listed their best player fits for every team heading into free agency. For the Rams, Seth Galina chose Titans linebacker Jayon Brown. Said Galina:
The Rams fielded the league’s best defense a season ago, and it looks like all the important parts will return, especially if they can re-sign John Johnson III. The only upgrade they’ll need is at the linebacker spot, so Jayon Brown fits nicely here.
Brown does his best work in zone coverage and is agile enough to move around and align in unique positions, as we saw the Rams’ linebackers do in 2020. He had the No. 8 grade among linebackers in 2018 (81.2) before slipping to 20th over the last two seasons, but he’s still a value add for the Rams.
Galina made an important point at the end. Brown would be a nice “value add” for the Rams. Micah Kiser had good moments last year, but has struggled to stay healthy. The Rams could certainly upgrade opposite of him where Troy Reeder and Kenny Young lined up last season.
Brown is a former fifth round selection by the Titans, but has been a steady piece in the middle of the Tennessee defense. He had 97 tackles in 2018 and matched that with a career-high 105 in 2019. The Titans linebacker had just 76 last season, but also forced two fumbles.
NFL.com also listed their best free agent fits for each team. Nick Shook chose Chargers cornerback Desmond King. Said Shook:
Darious Williams stands to replace Troy Hill as an outside corner, and King can join the stingy Rams defense as the team’s third CB in a fashion similar to how he fit into Tennessee’s defense last season. Still only 26, King has some years left in him and can bolster a group headlined by Jalen Ramsey and the promising Williams.
I could see the Rams making a move at cornerback, but find it unlikely. If the Rams make a move at cornerback this offseason, it will most likely be through the draft. Troy Hill does hit free agency, but he’ll be replaced by Darious Williams. David Long could see increased snaps as well.
If the Rams go after a Chargers player in free agency, don’t be surprised if it’s edge rusher Melvin Ingram in the case that Leonard Floyd leaves.