off-season…who goes, who stays, what positions should be drafted

Recent Forum Topics Forums The Rams Huddle off-season…who goes, who stays, what positions should be drafted

This topic contains 13 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by zn zn 1 day, 9 hours ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Author
  • #80187

    Rams’ offseason focus: Keep defense on par with offense

    Think back to the beginning of the year. Isn’t this a strange headline. LOL

    Alden GonzalezESPN Staff Writer

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams’ defense reached an optimal level well before their offense did. And now that the offense has finally caught up, that defense is getting significantly older and more expensive, making it increasingly difficult to keep it intact.

    Welcome to the biggest challenge of the Rams’ 2018 offseason.

    Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a candidate to be tagged, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who could soon sign a lucrative extension, are the names that promise to absorb most of the attention. But the Rams’ most pressing matters lie in figuring out what to do with a foursome of key defensive players who are either approaching free agency or coming up on flexible portions of their contracts.

    Rams general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay will reconvene with their executives and coaches immediately after the Super Bowl, and the conversation with the biggest impact will take place with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. The Rams made a transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 under Phillips last year, and along the way, Phillips made a couple of tweaks to fit his scheme, most notably moving Michael Brockers to defensive end and giving rookie safety John Johnson a starting job.

    Another offseason will allow Snead another opportunity to fine-tune the defense to fit Phillips’ principles, which will prompt some important decisions with four integral players.
    The Rams are facing their big decision on a long-term deal for top cornerback Trumaine Johnson. Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire
    CB Trumaine Johnson

    The Rams kicked the can down the road as far as they could with Johnson, and now they’re embarking on a fork. After keeping him with back-to-back franchise tags, it’s time to make a decision: Do they pay him on par with the NFL’s elite corners or let him sign elsewhere?

    Snead said he could “definitely” envision a scenario where Johnson returns, and it sounds sincere after considering that cornerback is probably the Rams’ weakest position at the moment. Nickell Robey-Coleman, who’s really good in the slot, is also a free agent. And Kayvon Webster, the only solidified player returning, is coming off a torn Achilles tendon.

    Johnson handled himself well this season, on the field and in the locker room. He was named a captain, and he held the seven elite receivers he covered to a 57.7 percent reception rate, 7 percentage points below the league average. Snead believed Johnson “fit” Phillips’ scheme. But he also said that at the price he would command — the top corners make between $13 and $15 million a year — players must be an ideal fit. Is Johnson an ideal fit?

    The Rams still have to figure that out.
    S Lamarcus Joyner

    The Rams were hopeful of extending Joyner last offseason, but couldn’t come to an agreement.

    Then his price went up.

    In his first year as a full-time, every-snap starter, Joyner recorded his first three career interceptions and scored a touchdown. He finished as the NFL’s third-highest-graded safety, according to Pro Football Focus, and also made an impact in the slot. Joyner is a fearless, all-business, instinctual player who makes a dynamic pairing with John Johnson and adds an entirely different element to the Rams’ defense. He’s small, at 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, but he has length, is a sound tackler and brings great ball skills.

    The comps, though, are a little more difficult to come by, because Joyner is eligible for free agency after only one season as a full-time player. Joyner probably won’t command a contract in the range of Eric Berry ($13 million a year) or Tyrann Mathieu ($12.5 million). Maybe something between Earl Thomas ($10 million a year) and Rodney McLeod ($7 million) makes more sense.
    LBs Mark Barron & Robert Quinn

    These two seem somewhat tied together as integral parts who also bring injury concerns and cap savings.
    What you need to know in the NFL

    • Statistics
    • Scoreboard
    • 2017 schedule, results
    • Standings

    Quinn is scheduled to take up more than $25 million toward the Rams’ salary cap over the next two years, but less than $1 million if he’s cut. Barron would cost the Rams $28 million over the next three years, but only $6 million if cut. In 2018 alone, the Rams would save a combined $18.4 million by cutting both Quinn ($11.4 million) and Barron ($7 million).

    Quinn stayed healthy all year and was at his best down the stretch, with six sacks from Weeks 12 to 15. But he was also limited to 17 games from 2015 to 2016 and previously underwent back surgery. Barron has played in 92 of a potential 96 games in his six-year career, but he battled an assortment of injuries in 2017 and might be a little undersized as an inside linebacker in Phillips’ scheme.

    The Rams will already have to add one outside linebacker if they don’t re-sign Connor Barwin, which might prompt Quinn’s return. They’re high on the young Cory Littleton and already extended Alec Ogletree, which might make it easier to part ways with Barron.

    But not if they can afford him.

    “The goal is not necessarily to save money,” Snead said. “The goal is to make sure we can fit everybody into the budget.”



    they need to focus on defense this offseason. i question tagging watkins.

    not sure if they actually have or not but his career production suggests they shouldn’t be doing that.

    i’d try to sign him for a couple years for a lot less money.

    let him walk if he doesn’t like it. spend all my cap space on trying to bring back my defensive players who actually have performed.


    For a reference here’s a list of all Rams FAs


    A Look at the Rams 2018 Free Agents

    Kristen Lago

    With the start of the offseason, head coach Sean McVay and the rest of his staff will be taking some well earned time off to cap an exciting year. But because it is the NFL, there really is no true offseason for the group.

    Soon, McVay and general manager Les Snead will begin evaluating how to improve and sustain the team’s recent success — beginning with taking a look at the players headed into free agency.

    The following list of 22 players will be up for free agency — both unrestricted and restricted — on March 14.

    Unrestricted free agents can negotiate exclusively with the Rams until the new league year begins, but if they remain unsigned by that point, they will be free to sign with any team they choose.

    Restricted free agents, on the other hand, may receive one of three tenders — first round, second round, or original round. Should those free agents reach an agreement with another club, the player’s new team would owe L.A. a draft pick as compensation. Los Angeles would also have the opportunity to match the offer sheet.

    Exclusive rights free agents are players whose contracts have expired but have only two or fewer seasons of accrued service time. Should L.A. extend the players a qualifying offer, they must sign it to play for the franchise or sit out the season.

    Additionally, the Rams have may use the exclusive franchise tag, non-exclusive franchise tag, or transition tag on one of their players. That decision will need to be made by March 6.


    — OLB Connor Barwin

    Barwin signed with the Rams last spring, reuniting with his former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. He appeared in 14 games this season, recording 43 tackles, nine quarterback hits and 5.0 sacks. Barwin has said he would like to return to Los Angeles, believing he fits best in Phillips’ 3-4 defensive scheme.

    — WR Sammy Watkins

    Watkins has also expressed his desire to remain with the Rams next season. The Clemson product was acquired by the club from Buffalo in early August. Watkins recorded a team-leading eight receiving touchdowns and finished with 593 yards in 15 games.

    — CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

    Robey-Coleman signed a one-year deal last spring after spending the first four years of his career with the Bills. Robey-Coleman has provided a solid backup for the club’s starting outside corners and has been tremendous in the slot. In 15 games, the corner recorded 50 tackles — two for loss — nine passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one interception.

    — C John Sullivan

    The veteran center was acquired by the Rams this season in an effort to bulk up the offensive line. Throughout the entire season, Sullivan has been a huge help for quarterback Jared Goff in helping to diagnose defenses and interpret coverages. He has also played a critical role in the O-line room, providing leadership to many of the unit’s younger players.

    — CB Trumaine Johnson

    Johnson has played under the franchise tag for the past two seasons, but had arguably one of his best campaigns this year. He finished the season with 70 tackles, 14 pass breakups and two interceptions. He was also named a captain this year, pointing to his leadership presence on the defense.

    — S Lamarcus Joyner

    Joyner made the transition from cornerback to free safety this season and has since flourished at the position. Although he fought through a hamstring injury that kept him out of several games, the Florida State product still managed to record 60

    tackles, seven pass breakups, and a team leading three interceptions, with one returned for a touchdown.

    — TE Derek Carrier

    Carrier reunited with McVay when he was traded to the Rams from Washington in September. With Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett utilized more at the tight end position, Carrier played a larger role on special teams this year.

    — S Cody Davis

    Davis was placed on Injured Reserve in early November after suffering a quad injury in the Rams’ Week 6 victory over the Jaguars. Prior to suffering the injury, Davis had been an impressive rotational player in Phillips’ scheme — recording an interception, two pass breakups and 22 total tackles. And he added on three tackles and a pass breakups in his return to game action against the 49ers.

    — RB Lance Dunbar

    Dunbar opened the season on the clubs’ reserve/PUP list after aggravating his knee during the offseason. He was active for four games this season, finishing the year with 11 carries for 51 yards and one touchdown.

    — DT Dominique Easley

    Easley tore his ACL during training camp and spent the entire season on Injured Reserve, but was a key member of the club’s defensive front last year.

    — OT Cornelius Lucas

    The Rams signed Lucas after their Week 1 victory over the Colts to help bolster the club’s offensive line. He started only one game — Los Angeles Week 17 loss to the 49ers — in which McVay rested the majority of his starters.

    — LS Jake McQuaide

    McQuaide has been with the franchise since 2011 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State. Since then, the long snapper has been an integral part of the Rams special teams unit, alongside punter Johnny Hekker and kicker Greg Zuerlein.

    — DT Tyrunn Walker

    Walker played an important role as a rotational player on the Rams’ defensive front in 2017 after joining the club after three years in New Orleans and two years in Detroit. He played in all 16 games this season, recording 25 tackles, 1.0 sacks, and one forced fumble.


    — OLB Matt Longacre

    Longacre ended the season on injured reserve after suffering a back injury late in the season. But he was very productive early on, finishing the year with 5.5 sacks — third most on the team. He also recorded 27 tackles and 12 quarterback hits.

    — OT Darrell Williams

    Williams came in for several members of the Rams offensive line this year, providing a solid rotational piece upfront. He played in all 16 games and started in the club’s season finale as the left tackle.

    — LB Cameron Lynch

    Lynch was signed to the active roster off of the practice squad in December and participated in three games this season, recording two tackles.


    — RB Malcolm Brown

    Brown solidified his role as the teams No. 2 running back this season, rushing for 246 yards and one touchdown.

    — CB Troy Hill

    Hill took on a larger role for the Rams down the stretch, filling in for the injured Kayvon Webster. He made the most of his few starts, recording 18 tackles and five pass breakups.

    — LB Garrett Sickels

    Sickels was a member of the Rams practice squad, but was activated to the active roster in Week 17.

    — K Sam Ficken

    Ficken was signed by the Rams after a season-ending injury to Greg Zuerlein. Although he struggled in his first contest against the Titans, the Penn State product finished the year off on the right foot — nailing 4/5 point after attempts and 2/3 field goals.

    — OLB Carlos Thompson

    Thompson was promoted from the practice squad in December, recording three tackles through three games played.

    — FB Zach Laskey

    The Georgia Tech product was waived by the Rams during the preseason and did not appear in any regular season games.

    Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
    Reply To: off-season…who goes, who stays, what positions should be drafted
    You can use BBCodes to format your content.

    bilinkb-quotedelimgulollicodeclose tags


    Notify me of follow-up replies via email


    they need to focus on defense this offseason. i question tagging watkins.

    not sure if they actually have or not but his career production suggests they shouldn’t be doing that.

    i’d try to sign him for a couple years for a lot less money.

    let him walk if he doesn’t like it. spend all my cap space on trying to bring back my defensive players who actually have performed.

    It is not about the franchise. That doesn’t bother me. Both the the team and Watkins hopefully can come to a reasonable agreement, that helps us sign the players. As much as I like Quinn and Barron, we still have to resign John Sullivan, Jake McQuaide, Derrick Carrier, and a bunch of depth from last year’s team. Alot of our money is going to go to Aaron Donald, who wants like 5 years,$120 million, and $80 million guaranteed. Then we have to sign Lamarcus Joyner on top.


    The Rams can sign whoever they want. They can use some of next years cap.



    Robert Quinn – $11.4 million
    Mark Barron – $7 million
    Roger Saffold – $6.5 million
    Tavon Austin – $3 million

    Lamarcus Joyner
    Sammy Watkins
    Derrick Carrier
    Dominique Easley
    Jake McQuaide
    Tyrunn Walker
    Matt Longacre
    Malcolm Brown
    Troy Hill
    Cody Davis

    Aaron Donald – Hopefully works for both parties

    Players to sign
    Kyle Fuller CB Chicago Bears
    Mason Foster LB Washington Redskins

    1. Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi State
    3. Kendrick Norton NT Miami(Fla)
    4. Kevin Toliver CB LSU
    5. Darius Jackson 3/4 OLB Jacksonville State
    6a. Mason Cole C Michigan
    b. Brendan Mahon G Penn State
    c. Brandon Fracyson CB Virginia Tech
    7a. Kellen Soulek DT/DE South Dakota State
    b. Jeremiah Briscoe QB Sam Houston State

    * -only did a temporary Rams drafting. I will have a full NFL draft when at the end of April. Days of the draft.


    Everybody on the OL needs a to come back if possible. Joyner should come back although he might be an injury risk.
    I don’t care about Watkins…. I wanna see what Reynolds can do. I believe we have two future 1000 yard receivers in Kupp and Woods. And Everett is going to be good too.

    Any old Denver corners going to be available? I’ll bet we can sign one of those guys. Bring back Robbey Coleman. I like our chances. Can’t figure out what to do with Quinn and Barwin. Glad I don’t have to decide these things.


    I’d sign them all except Tavon.
    Though, i dunno about R.Quinn. To me, he’s the trickiest decision. How can you count on a guy with a bad back?

    I hope the Aaron Donald thing doesn’t drag on and on. Just sign him.


    PA Ram
    PA Ram

    Well–I’d love to see them re-sign Trumaine JHohnson and if they don’t they’d better be able to bring in a good free agent or draft a guy because he will be missed. Webster can’t stay healthy and you gonna put on Julio Jones next year?

    There seems to be a lot of guys to get done–starting with Donald.

    Hey–if they can do it AND fill the holes I’m fine with them signing Watkins.

    Otherwise I’d let him and Tavon walk.

    I wouldn’t sign Tavon anyway.

    Quinn is a tough call because of his health but they managed him pretty well this year.

    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. " Philip K. Dick


    This article says the Rams would save a lot of money by cutting Quinn and Barron.

    They have some leverage here for renegotiation, that’s for sure.

    Eternal Ramnation
    Eternal Ramnation

    They gave up their 2nd round pick for Watkins so letting him go would hurt but he doesn’t seem like a #1 anymore . He had some horrible drops and he doesn’t look any faster than Woods to me but with a full off season program and camp. Who knows? Glad it ain’t my decision .


    BTW I don’t see them buying any expensive outside FAs. Not this year.


    LT to me is the TOP priority. Nothing else is even close, for me.

    But what is second? I dunno, but I’m thinking NT.

    Then again, if they release Quinn, maybe they want a pass-rusher. I dunno.



    LT to me is the TOP priority. Nothing else is even close, for me.

    But what is second? I dunno, but I’m thinking NT.

    Then again, if they release Quinn, maybe they want a pass-rusher. I dunno.


    Needs (probably):

    CB: Webster with an achilles and Tru probably not back.

    OL: Long version…They have a 36 year old LOT, no real center until Sullivan re-ups for another 1 year, and 3 other OL starters (Saffold, Brown, Hav) are up for free agency after the 2018 season. They won’t be able to sign all 3. Counting on multiple OL rookies in 2019 is not a very good plan. Sullivan can’t go on forever. 37 year old LOTs (which he will be by the end of 2018) are not the norm and AW is already not entirely the player he was. They were very lucky to have no linemen missing consecutive games due to injuries last year (especially compared to Rams history going back to 2007.) Fixing the OL was one of the major reasons they did well in 2017 but that has to be kept up. In terms of picks, you need to get your LOT in rounds 1 and 2. 75% of the original starting LOTs last year were 1st or 2nd round picks. Or another way to put this–I looked at OTs drafted after round 2 from 2006-2015. Out of 122 OTs drafted in that span, 6 became viable established starters at LOT. That there is slim odds. You can however find guards, centers, and ROTs after round 2.

    So I agree, LOT is a priority. Whoever it is may not play in 2018, but after 2018 there will be plenty of opportunities to start, maybe at LOT, maybe at OG, maybe at ROT.

    NT: They tried all year to find a decent NT.

    LB/edge: Depends on Quinn, Ekubam, and Longacre, but chances are they need one.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Comments are closed.