The Rams retain a few more talent, newcomers choose their jersey numbers and more in today’s news roundup:
The Rams have announced they have re-signed running back Malcolm Brown, kicker Sam Ficken, and cornerback Troy Hill via the exclusive rights free agent rule.
Malcolm Brown proved to be a valuable backup for the Rams last season, appearing in 11 games and rushing 63 times for 246 yards and a touchdown. He’s currently slated to be the second string running back in L.A. next season.
Sam Ficken filled in as the Rams starting kicker when Greg Zuerlein went down with an injury late in the season. His most notable performance came in his postseason debut, making both of his field goal attempts and his lone extra point attempt. Ficken may be valuable should Zuerlein not be ready by the start of next season.
Troy Hill has appeared in 24 games over the past two seasons, starting in seven. The Rams saw many new additions to the cornerback stable this offseason and Hill is unlikely to be anything more than a reserve. Still, his experience and understanding of the defense could prove valuable should someone suffer an injury.
Exclusive-rights free agents (ERFAs) are players with two or fewer seasons of service time and whose contracts have expired. When a team offers an ERFA, they must either sign the tender or sit out the upcoming season. The most notable player to be re-signed by this rule recently was Browns receiver Josh Gordon.
LaMarcus Joyner has signed his franchise tender with the Rams. Joyner will officially remain with the team in 2018 for a price tag of $11.287 million.
The former cornerback switched to safety for Wade Phillips last season and saw an immediate increase in production. Joyner has always been an important member of the secondary, but the transition allowed the undersized defensive back to play more to his strengths and emerge as arguably the Rams most valuable pass defender last season. Joyner joins a now star-studded secondary with newcomers Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters as well as second year safety John Johnson.
Joyner will draw a franchise tag of $13.544 million should the Rams tag him again next offseason. Given the contract situation with Aaron Donald, this is a real possibility. The team recently signed Trumaine Johnson to a franchise tag in two consecutive off-seasons before he joined the New York Jets.
Matt Longacre Signs Restricted Free Agent Tender and more
As per the Joyner release, outside linebacker Matt Longacre has signed his restricted free agent tender. Longacre finished third on the Rams in sacks with 5.5 in a rotational role last season.
If the season started today, Longacre would likely be a starting OLB for the Rams, so bringing him back was an important move. Expect the Rams to add to the linebacking core through the draft next week.
More news from the Joyner release: the team has re-signed offensive lineman Cornelius Lucas and Darrell Williams. Both Lucas and Williams saw action for the Rams last season as reserve offensive linemen.
Newcomers Choose Jersey Numbers
The Rams have officially released jersey numbers for some of their high-profile acquisitions: Aqib Talib will wear 21, Marcus Peters will wear 22, and Ndamukong Suh will wear 93.
It will look familiar seeing the Rams starting cornerbacks rocking 21 and 22 again. Peters takes over Trumaine Johnson’s number from last year, while Talib wears the number formally worn by Janoris Jenkins and Kayvon Webster. Suh has officially taken over the 93 jersey from Ethan Westbrooks, who will switch to 95.
No word yet on what number Brandin Cooks will wear with the Rams. Pharoh Cooper holds the number 10 jersey he wore in New Orleans, while former college teammate Sean Mannion currently wears number 14, the number Cooks wore in New England. 4/17 Update: Brandin Cooks will wear number 12 with the Rams.
More from Rams Talk
- Derek Ciapala and Steve Rebeiro discussed the preseason schedule, the end of the color rush, and Robert Quinn’s exit interview in the most recent Rams Talk podcast.
- View the complete preseason schedule with insights from Johnny Gomez.
- With an influx of talent and buzz for the L.A. Rams, feel free to pass along our guide to becoming a bandwagon Rams fan!
Steve Rebeiro is a staff writer and podcast host for Rams Talk. He is an alumni of Marquette University. For more of his opinions, follow him on Twitter here.