No other offseason is more exciting than the NFL’s. This year was no different, although most of the coveted free agents were gone by March 1 when NFL teams began to use franchise tags. Much of the remaining top free agents were taken in the first day of free agency on March 9.
The Los Angeles Rams struggled early in free agency and had to work to keep some of their key players. Here’s a look at the Rams’ free agent activity during the first week:
CB Trumaine Johnson is tagged
The Rams were in a difficult position with both starting cornerbacks entering free agency, but they ultimately placed the franchise tag on Trumaine Johnson, meaning he is coming back for the 2016 season for $13.952 million. It’s clear that Johnson was their top priority, and they didn’t want him to test the free agent market. The Rams will likely attempt to work on a long-term deal.
CB Janoris Jenkins signed with the New York Giants
The Rams reportedly attempted to sign Jenkins to a 5-year, $45 million contract, but he felt disrespected by the offer. Instead, the Rams made signing Johnson the priority, and he would have made more money than Jenkins. In the end, the New York Giants signed Jenkins to a hefty 5-year, $62.5 million contract, making him one of the top paid cornerbacks in the NFL.
FS Rodney McLeod signed with the Philadelphia Eagles
The Rams’ secondary took another hit when the Philadelphia Eagles swooped in and signed McLeod to a 5-year, $37 million contract. McLeod was coming off his best season with the Rams last year, and was one of the top safeties in free agency. The problem McLeod always faced was staying healthy, but the Eagles felt he was worth the risk.
OLB Mark Barron re-signed
The Rams also made re-signing Barron a top priority, and he agreed to a 5-year, $45 million contract early on. Barron had by far the best season of his NFL career last year when he stepped in for the injured Alec Ogletree. This was a key signing since the Rams parted ways with MLB James Laurinaitis, and they are expected to move Ogletree to his spot and keep Barron on the outside.
DE William Hayes re-signed
A big reason “Sack City” was still alive and well last season was because Hayes stepped up when the recently cut Chris Long became injured. His consistency was rewarded when the Rams retained him with a 3-year, $25 million contract. He is expected to start opposite of Robert Quinn in 2016.
C Tim Barnes re-signed
The Rams retained the services of Barnes, who started at center last year. Barnes agreed to a 2-year, $5.5 million contract. It’s not clear if the Rams plan on keeping him as the starter, but the Rams have a veteran center on the roster nonetheless.
WR Brian Quick re-signed
The Quick experiment continues as the Rams bring him back on a 1-year, $3.75 million contract. Quick didn’t have the most productive season last year, but he did continue to tease the Rams with great plays here and there. The Rams are desperate to find a rhythm in the passing offense, and hopefully Quick can be the receiver the Rams need him to be.
QB Case Keenum tendered
The Rams assigned a first-round tender worth 1-year, $3.635 million to Keenum. No other team can make an offer on Keenum unless they are prepared to surrender their first round draft pick. This was a huge move, because it was likely that Keenum would have signed elsewhere for much more. Keenum is expected to be the starter for the 2016 season as of now.
DE Eugene Sims re-signed
It was imperative for the Rams to bring back their rotational defensive end Eugene Sims. Sims agreed to a 3-year, $10 million contract. True, Chris Long is gone, but he really hasn’t been healthy enough to contribute as much as Hayes and Sims. Defensive end is no longer a top priority.
FS Cody Davis re-signed
The Rams and Davis agreed to a 2-year deal worth $2.91 million, with $805,000 guaranteed. The contract could reach up to $5.1 million with incentives. This deal came after McLeod signed with the Eagles. Davis did do a great job in his role as a backup, and he is equally valued for his special teams role.
C Brian Folkerts re-signed
The Rams signed backup center Folkerts to a 1-year, $675,000 contract. The team first signed Folkerts last year off of the San Francisco 49ers practice squad and must have made a good enough impression to give him a second look. He will likely compete for a spot on the roster once training camp and the preseason begins.