The Los Angeles Rams secondary in general wasn’t a position of concern entering the 2019 season. All things considered, the safeties did well despite the injuries and a bit of a switch up.
Eric Weddle, 13-year pro, retired
Weddle was brought in and was thought to be an upgrade of the departing LaMarcus Joyner. It became clear the Weddle wasn’t in his prime anymore, which was to be expected. Weddle still performed relatively well, finishing the season with 108 tackles and four pass deflections.
In truth, the writing was on the wall for Weddle, he was going to be a backup if the Rams opted to keep him on the roster. Considering the salary cap’s present state, Weddle would have likely been cut. The main reason is because Taylor Rapp is far too talented to keep on the bench or as a situational hybrid linebacker. John Johnson and Rapp are likely going to be the starting safeties heading into 2020 if both are healthy. Weddle didn’t want to wait around or become a backup and decided for all parties to just call it a career.
Taylor Rapp, 1-year pro, 3-year/$2,759,646 Contract (Remaining)
The Rams were understandably excited to add Rapp to their team. It was unknown what his exact role would be considering Weddle’s addition. He began the 2019 season as a situational hybrid linebacker and relieved Bryce Hager to play most of the game at that spot. It became clear that Rapp couldn’t stay on the bench and received more playing time. He eventually took over as the starting free safety once Johnson sustained a season-ending injury and started the remaining 10 games. He finished the season with 99 tackles, eight pass deflections, two interceptions, one defensive touchdown and one fumble recovery.
Expect Rapp to have a huge sophomore season in 2020. Having him at his natural position alongside a healthy Johnson should make him an even bigger threat.
John Johnson, 3-year pro, 1-year/$775,000 Contract (Remaining)
Johnson has had a successful short career so far, and 2019 was supposed to be a huge year for the young safety. Starting in five games, Johnson earned 51 tackles, two pass deflections and two interceptions. Not that bad considering he missed most of the season with a shoulder injury.
Technically, the Rams have Johnson under contract for 2020, but it is the last of his rookie contract. Les Snead and the Rams have a huge decision to make regarding Johnson. Snead has always had a knack in finding talented safeties, but Johnson is easily one of the better safety talents he’s ever discovered. Johnson is due for a huge payday, but the longer Snead waits, the more expensive he will become.
Marqui Christian, 4-year pro, UFA
One of the underrated players on the team was Christian in 2019. Christian has been one of the more reliable backups and earned more playing time over the years. He finished the season with 32 tackles and two pass deflections.
Christian is slated to hit the free agent market. Considering the Rams lost Weddle, and Rapp will be moved as a starter, they don’t have a ton of players behind the starters with experience. That’s never really stopped the Rams from entering a season with inexperienced depth before. Still, it shouldn’t take a lot to bring back Christian. If there are teams interested enough, don’t expect the Rams to get in a bidding war.
Jake Gervase, 1-year pro, 1-year/$585,000 Contract (Remaining)
Gervase was brought in as an undrafted free agent and made quite an impact during training camp and preseason. He became one of the surprise cuts for the 53-man roster. The Rams later added him to the practice squad and promoted him to the active roster midseason. His primary role was special teams though.
All things considered, Gervase has a good shot at making the roster, especially if the Rams don’t re-sign Christian. Of course, he will have to continue to prove himself since Snead seems to find ways to nab talented safeties.
Nick Scott, 1-year pro, 3-year/$2,025,000 Contract (Remaining)
Sean McVay and Snead drafted Scott in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft with one thing in mind, special teams. Scott was a great special teamer at Penn State and he continued to be with the Rams. It’s not certain if the Rams will continue to keep Scott on the roster for that role, but he’s still under contract anyways. It’s also worth noting that Scott caught the pass from Johnny Hekker on a fake punt against the Atlanta Falcons.