The Los Angeles Rams have completely overhauled the coaching staff, but general manager Les Snead will also need to go over the upcoming free agents with the newly appointed head coach Sean McVay. The Rams have 10 upcoming free agents with just under $40 million in cap space, so which ones should the team keep? Here’s a look at the team’s free agents:
CB Trumaine Johnson
If there is one player the Rams absolutely need to bring back, it’s Johnson. Cornerback is thin as it is, losing Johnson is simply not an option. In the interest of cap space, it would be better if the Rams can agree to a multi-year deal. Placing yet another franchise tag would be too expensive. Johnson is a talented player, but he didn’t play up to that franchise tag last year. He has battled nagging injuries most of his career, but has been effective when healthy.
WR Kenny Britt
Without a doubt, Britt was the most consistent player on offense this past season. He finally stepped up to his role as the No. 1 receiver, and even broke the 1,000-yard barrier. That’s not to say he was perfect. Britt dropped plenty of passes in critical situations as well. It became worse as the season dragged on. Britt was paid a little under $5 million last year, if the Rams can retain him for around that price range or a little more, they should do it. Although it’s possible that a team desperate for wide receivers could overpay him. Quarterback Jared Goff would love to see him stay, but the Rams need to avoid overpaying him and possibly move on to another No. 1 receiver.
S T.J. McDonald
McDonald’s off the field issues did create some minor issues, and that is a cause for concern. His talent is undeniable, especially with plays on the ball carrier. While I’d love to bring back McDonald, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it if the Rams couldn’t retain him. If they can re-sign with a reasonable salary, I’m all for it. If McDonald gets a crazy offer like Rodney McLeod did last offseason, then goodbye.
K Greg Zuerlein
The reason Zuerlein wasn’t offered a huge contract last season was because of his terrible performance in 2015. He improved quite a bit, increasing his accuracy by 20 percent, but still missed some key field goals. I’d be comfortable in bringing him back on a two or three-year deal. That said, the Rams shouldn’t break the bank for him. Zuerlein is good kicker with a powerful leg, but not a top priority.
QB Case Keenum
It’s time to let Keenum go. Goff is the future of the passing game, and Keenum has proven to be ineffective with this offense. Sean Mannion is a good enough option to backup Goff, and the Rams can bring in a younger, stronger and cheaper arm. It wouldn’t be too big of a surprise if the Rams tried to retain him for his veteran presence. He’ll likely try to pursue a starting opportunity should one arise. The New York Jets could use some help.
DT Cam Thomas
Injuries hit the defensive line hard last season. Of the starters, only Aaron Donald remained healthy the entire season. Thomas stepped up and made a huge impact. Thomas provides excellent depth and it’s doubtful he will cost as much as Nick Fairley did last season. The Rams absolutely need to try and bring him back.
RB Benny Cunningham
It’s always good to have a “plan B.” Cunningham should have been just that last season, but the coaching staff refused to give him the ball, despite finding success when Todd Gurley was struggling. In all fairness, Cunningham did battle injuries throughout the year, but he should have seen the field more. Either way, the Rams need to try and bring him back. Here’s to McVay incorporating him more into the offensive scheme.
WR Brian Quick
So, we’re at this point again. The annual tough decision on keeping Quick. If you consider Quick’s first half of the season, he showed what he is capable of. If you look at the second half, and it makes you want to cut him and not look back. Considering the lack of receivers on the roster, the Rams should bring him back at the minimal cost. But Snead should try and bring in two or three receivers for competition. Perhaps this is the year to be rid of Quick?
RB Chase Reynolds
I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out why he made the roster in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, Reynolds is a solid special teamer, but I believe his spot needs to go to an area of need, like linebacker. I’m in favor of moving on here.
WR Stedman Bailey
The Rams could have certainly used Bailey’s presence this past year, but recovering from being shot in the head puts many things into perspective. Bailey had mentioned that he doesn’t believe his career is over, but I’d hesitate to bring him back for safety concerns. I think it’s best he retires from football and enjoy his life pursuing other endeavors.