Should the Los Angeles Rams Add 16-year Free Agent to Bolster Young Defensive Line?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Brett Davis-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With the retirement of Aaron Donald, the Los Angeles Rams not only lost a defensive powerhouse on Sundays but also lost one of the most impactful team leaders during the rest of the week. Add to that, the loss of one of the most respected defensive line coaches in football, Eric Henderson, and the situations starts to look even more dire.

As it stands now, the Rams front five will be made up of two rookies, two sophomores, and a rotation of guys who have minimal experience on an NFL football field.

The Rams used their first two draft picks to attempt to address the need created by Donald’s retirement, but they leaned into the secondary in free agency, adding three veteran players at cornerback and safety. In doing so, the Rams didn’t add any vets along the defensive front.

Do the Los Angeles Rams Need To Add Experience to the DL?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

But one very experienced free agent remains up for the picking that the Rams could add; Calais Campbell. The 37-year-old is coming off a one-year contract, $7 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, which was also Campbell’s 16th season in the league.

While age has a deleterious effect on most, Campbell proved to be an ageless wonder. Last year, he led the Falcons in quarterback pressures with 42 and was tied for second with seven sacks. He also had the best season against the run in five years, racking up 36 STOPs, and had the 10th-best PFF run defense grade among edge rushers. These also led the team.

Campbell played 62.5 percent of all defensive snaps last year, 7th highest among all Falcons.

The 6’8″, 282 lbs former second-round pick proved last season that he has plenty of gas in the tank and the ability to go the distance in a 17-game season, but would also bring his 8870 career snaps to a deeply inexperienced Los Angeles Rams defensive line.

Campbell has 865 tackles, 175 tackles for loss (4th most in history, one behind Aaron Donald), 105.5 sacks, 58 passes defended, and three interceptions in his career.

Los Angeles Rams Free Agent Prospect
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports