The legal tampering period of NFL Free Agency began on Monday, blowing the door open for teams to converse with player’s agents. The Los Angeles Rams haven’t agreed to terms from players on other teams. However, they did reach an agreement with edge rusher Leonard Floyd.
There were a plethora of other deals agreed upon in the two days leading up to the actual start of the new league year. It’s fitting that the start of the new league year happens to fall on St. Patrick’s Day as there will be a boatload of green shelled out in the coming days.
As for the Los Angeles Rams, they’ve finally gotten under the salary cap, allowing them to become players on the open market.
Besides conducting a trade involving Michael Brockers — who will be sorely missed by Rams faithful — Los Angeles was able to restructure a handful of contracts to get under the salary cap. Even with the Rams creating some wiggle room, they’ll still need to operate on a bit of a tight budget.
Heading into the third day of free agency, these are some remaining free agents the Rams could have on their radar.
C Rodney Hudson
One of the biggest surprises on Tuesday was the sudden release of Rodney Hudson by the Las Vegas Raiders. Hudson has been a stalwart center since his early days with the Kansas City Chiefs and it’s peculiar as to why the Raiders would move on from him.
In all likelihood, Hudson could be someone who has to wait to find a new place to call home as he could receive a post-June 1 designation for his release as releasing him right now would cost the Raiders nearly $2 million.
Regardless of when Hudson finds himself in free agency, the Rams should be a team that expresses interest in the three-time Pro Bowler. With Austin Blythe being a free agent, Los Angeles could replace him with one of the best centers in the NFL. Hudson has missed just four games since the 2013 season, showing his reliability in the interior.
It remains to be seen what Hudson’s market will look like, especially if he’s given a June 1 designation for his release. There are undoubtedly going to be teams clamoring for Hudson once he hits the open market. But the Rams could be an ideal landing spot if he’s willing to take a slight pay cut to play for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Other center options: Ben Garland, Brett Jones, Austin Blythe
EDGE Jadeveon Clowney
In the moments leading up to free agency, some people highlighted Romeo Okwara as a possible option for the Rams. Okwara wouldn’t be on the market long, though, as the 26-year-old pass rusher inked a three-year, $39 million deal to return to the Detroit Lions. At the same time, Los Angeles retained Leonard Floyd with a massive four-year, $64 million contract.
Despite bringing back Floyd, the Rams shouldn’t be done addressing the pass-rushing department this offseason. Even with a majority of the big names off of the board, Los Angeles still has quite a few notable names to choose from if they are interested in another edge rusher.
One name that stands out is Jadeveon Clowney.
After failing to garner the contract he desired ahead of the 2020 season, Clowney’s 2020 season didn’t do him any favors. The former No. 1 overall pick missed eight games with the Tennessee Titans due to a meniscus injury. He logged zero sacks in the eight games he played for the Titans.
While Clowney’s production has wavered in recent seasons, he’s still just 28 and has plenty of talent. His biggest question is his health. We’ve seen Dante Fowler and Floyd maximize their time with Aaron Donald in the past two seasons. Both have cashed in the next year in free agency.
Clowney could likely be had for a fairly cheap price right now given his current situation. His ability to play the run should pique the interest of the Rams. Playing alongside Aaron Donald could help Clowney revert to being a premier edge rusher.
Other edge-rusher options: Aldon Smith, Melvin Ingram, Ryan Kerrigan
It was believed that Marvin Jones Jr. was among the former Lions who were interested in reuniting with Matthew Stafford. However, Jones signed a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
DeSean Jackson has been named as a potential candidate for the Rams due to his connection with Sean McVay. He’s also a California native. But it’s tough to assume he’ll remain healthy, especially as he’ll be turning 35 years old later this year.
Provided that, a name that has gone overlooked thus far is Rashard Higgins. Higgins had a career year with the Cleveland Browns. He e hauled in 37 passes for 599 receiving yards and four touchdowns. His 16.2 yards per reception were a career-best mark for the former fifth-round pick out of Colorado State.
With Stafford operating the offense, McVay evidently wants to push the ball down the field more. Being effective on deep throws was a strong suit for Higgins. He posted an impressive aDOT of 14.1 yards and he logged zero drops. Additionally, Higgins was able to corral 60 percent of his contested catches, which was the 19th best among wide receivers.
When looking at the cap situation, adding a vertical threat in the draft would likely be the smartest move. Not to mention, Van Jefferson is more than capable of handling a heavier workload. If Los Angeles is keen on adding a guy who can stretch the field, Higgins could be an intriguing option.
Other wide receiver options: DeSean Jackson, Marvin Hall, Zay Jones, David Moore