The Los Angeles Rams have been overall quiet in free agency over the last few seasons. Due to having to carry dead money of players such as Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Brandin Cooks, the team has also had to let some of their core players walk. Those players have included Cory Littleton, John Johnson III, and other smaller role players like Josh Reynolds.
The Rams will enter the 2022 offseason already $10M over the cap. A cap increase should help that as well as some potential contract restructures, but overall, they’ll once again need to get creative. Let’s take early look at the key 2022 free agents.
Darious Williams will be the team’s biggest free agent in 2022. Williams has flourished opposite of Jalen Ramsey. The team currently has him on a one-year deal as a restricted free agent, but next year he’ll be able to hit unrestricted free agency.
If Williams once again has a good year, he’ll command a lot of money on the free agent market. It may not be a $20M price tag, but a $12M-$15M price tag could be a possibility. That will be a number that the Rams won’t be able to afford as it stands.
With Jalen Ramsey on the opposite side, the Rams have a lot of flexibility. If Williams’ price is too much, they’ll likely have no issue letting him walk.
iOL Austin Corbett
This one is interesting. Austin Blythe left this past offseason in free agency despite the Kansas City Chiefs sending him a low offer. The question then becomes if the Rams would play the same cat and mouse game with Austin Corbett next offseason.
Likely, it will all hinge on how Corbett plays at center. Over the last year and a half, Corbett has played very well at guard. However, with the switch to center this season, it could change how he’s viewed by the Rams. He should be a priority, but when it comes to the Rams and the offensive line, you never know.
Overall, the 2018 Los Angeles draft class has been disappointing with no real stars and a lot of depth players. However, those depth players are needed. Noteboom has been just that – a good depth piece. With Andrew Whitworth potentially retiring, it’s that much more important that the Rams bring back Noteboom.
The options are either Noteboom, address the need in the draft, or sign a starting left tackle in free agency. The Rams likely won’t be able to afford the last option. Noteboom played well in place of Whitworth last season when the veteran was injured. Given his role since being drafted, Noteboom should come cheaper than most left tackles.
NT Sebastian Joseph-Day
Sebastian Joseph-Day has been a player that the Rams have really grown fond of over the last two years. After switching to a 3-4 defense, the team was in search of a nose tackle. Joseph-Day came in as a sixth round pick and stole it, despite the Rams drafting Greg Gaines a couple of rounds earlier.
It would not be surprising if the Rams make Joseph-Day a priority to re-sign. He won’t command a lot of money and he plays an important role on the defensive line. The Rams have spent a lot of time on his development and wouldn’t want that to go to waste.
K Matt Gay
After 2019, the Los Angeles Rams made the mistake of letting Greg Zuerlein walk in free agency. It might not even be that it was a total mistake, but rather how the Rams handled it by drafting Sloman over other kickers who had successful rookie seasons that went undrafted.
Gay came in at the end of last season and actually added some stability to the position. If he has another good year, the Rams will likely make him a priority and sign him to an extension.
Allen has a lot riding on this season. Would the Los Angeles Rams bring Allen back as a depth piece? If Corbett doesn’t play well and Allen step in, does that make him a priority? The fact of the matter is, Allen didn’t play well at center in 2019 before his injury. He’s been hurt the last year and a half. Unless something significantly changes, it’s hard to see the Rams bringing Allen back.
LB Micah Kiser
The same about Young could be said about Kiser. He’s been often hurt, but has shown some promise when he has played. If he becomes a key player on defense this season, the Rams could bring him back as he won’t cost a lot of money. That’s the type of player that the Rams will be looking for.
The question will remain, is the player worth the price tag? Kiser won’t cost the team a lot of capital. However, the best ability is availability and over the last two years, Kiser hasn’t been available most weeks.
LBs Kenny Young and Troy Reeder
The Los Angeles Rams have allowed linebackers to walk in free agency in the past. Unless they can bring Young or Reeder back for a cheap price, it’s likely that they would have the same fate. It really depends on what their roles are this year. The Rams like to rotate their linebackers and actually have some good depth there. If Young or Reeder become a key starter, they might end up bringing them back at the end of the season, but as it stands, that seems unlikely.
EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
Ever since he was drafted, Rams fans have been waiting for Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to break out and live up to his potential. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t happened. Aaron Donald opens up so much opportunity for pass rusher on defense and that’s not something that Okoronkwo has been able to take advantage of.
If this is finally the year that Okoronkwo breaks out, then the Rams might consider bringing him back. If it doesn’t happen though, he’s a player that they can most certainly replace in the upcoming draft.
QB John Wolford
Things get interesting with quarterback John Wolford. Would the Los Angeles Rams bring him back for a cheap price? He’s someone that the Rams have been able to count on to win games. McVay trusted him enough to start a playoff game last season.
Where it gets interesting is with Bryce Perkins. The Rams also like what he brings to the table and with another year in the offense, Perkins could be someone that the Rams favor over Wolford. There have been some rumors that Perkins could be used in a Taysom Hill-like role.
If that is the case, it would not be surprising to see the Rams let Wolford walk and make Perkins the backup.
Jackson likely won’t be brought back because of his age, while the other could get cut in training camp. Of the group as a whole, Travin Howard might be the most likely to be brought back if he has a good 2021 and plays a significant role.