The Super Bowl (or “The Big Game” if you’re not a sponsor) is this week which of course means its time to look at the top free agent targets for the Rams!
That’s right while the Niners (boo) and the Chiefs are playing for a trophy, the Rams are playing for next year. The Rams, of course, are in a cap bind so while they don’t have Indianapolis Colts money (but they could free up some funds) they aren’t quite in a position to dumpster dive either. It’s true that the Rams top free-agent targets don’t include the more high profile names like Shaq Barrett but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value for them. Here are five names the Rams should look into in order to rebuild on a budget.
Mike Daniels – DT
If the Rams can’t get Michael Brockers to come back on a discount, Daniels could be a stop-gap while they find a long term solution via the draft or elsewhere. Sure, his 2019 stats weren’t great and he’s in his 30s, which isn’t great. But, on the other hand, his time in Green Bay was far more fruitful and he was a disruptive force.
He might thrive having Aaron Donald take up most of the attention and if he’s simply part of the rotation, assuming Greg Gaines gets the starting gig, all the better. He wouldn’t be the top free-agent target for the Rams at defensive tackle but he’s someone who could be a valuable contributor.
Michael Pierce – DT
Okay, maybe Mike Daniels isn’t the answer the Rams are looking for so why not a younger option? Pierce while not a major pass-rushing force, he is a solid run-stopper which anyone who watched the Rams this year knows, they sorely need. Like Daniels, Pierce probably wouldn’t break the bank and would be a valuable part of the defensive line rotation. He’d be a solid replacement for Brockers and would be able to draw blockers away from Donald.
Shaq Lawson – DE
Aside from interior help, the Rams need some more firepower on the outside. LA’s pass rush fell off tremendously last year despite bringing in Clay Matthews, and Dante Fowler having a career year. They might be priced out of Shaq Barrett but Shaq Lawson could be had. Granted he’s not nearly the player Barrett was last season, then again who was? Still, Lawson is the kind of young pass rusher the Rams need. He’s not the project Obo Okoronkwo or Sebastian Joseph-Day is and has enough of an upward trajectory to warrant a look, and won’t come at a huge price.
D.J. Humphries – OT
Humphries isn’t necessarily a marquee name like Anthony Castonzo or Jack Conklin, whom the Rams can’t afford (barring the aforementioned roster overhaul), but he could become the kind of guy they need. He had early injury issues but is young enough to where that doesn’t have to be the story of his career.
Aaron Kromer would be a powerful asset to his development. Humphries could be a low-risk high-reward for a Rams team that desperately needs to rebuild its offensive line.
Joe Thuney – OG
Austin Blythe is a free agent and not a guarantee to come back, and the jury is still out on Joe Noteboom and Austin Corbett. The interior line has a lot of questions. If the Rams have any money remaining post resigning Jalen Ramsey and either Cory Littleton or Fowler, they should use it on an offensive guard.
Thuney was a quality starter for the Patriots and could anchor the interior of the line. Jared Goff needs as much protection as he can get and Todd Gurley needs all the running lanes he can muster. He’s a young asset and has gotten better every year.
They might not be the sexiest names but any of these guys could drastically improve the Rams’ roster. If they can create more wiggle room under the cap, all the better. Besides the sexiest top free agent targets don’t always pan out so the Rams don’t necessarily need to make it rain.