Rams headed for (possible) free agency in 2016


There are a handful of notable players on the St. Louis Rams roster that are headed for free agency once the 2015 season concludes. As with any young team, it’s important to keep the right pieces in place for the right amount of money. However, it can be a daunting task separating the cream from the crop. For some, that impact will be on the field. For others, their biggest impact will be their departure. Remaining free agents of note will be listed at the bottom of the article.

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Nick Foles, Quarterback: 2015 cap hit, $1.5 million

A lot of interest has been expressed by St. Louis to begin working out a deal with the newly acquired quarterback since the beginning of OTAs. He is currently playing out the final year of his rookie contract that he signed when the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him in 2012. Obviously, as the situation sits now, the Rams could be getting the next big thing at quarterback for far less than the going rate. However, we can’t expect it to stay like that forever. Foles has proven himself as a starting quarterback in this league and sometimes that’s all it takes to have a team open up the vault (i.e. Josh McCown). If St. Louis can bag Foles long-term, prior to the season starting, on a team friendly contract, then we should consider that a success. If he plays out the 2015 season without a new deal, and tears the top off of the offense, than St. Louis could be shooting themselves in the foot.

What should the Rams do? Re-sign (for the right terms!)

Nick Fairley, Defensive Tackle: 2015 cap hit, $4.7 million

Fairly arrived in St. Louis from Detroit, where he was drafted 13th overall but the Lions in 2011. Fairley struggled to stay healthy, struggled with his weight and because of that his play suffered. He was effective when he was on the field, but couldn’t quite find the consistency needed to become a mainstay. He signed a one-year deal with the Rams this off season on the very definition of a “prove it” contract. Fairly will provide relief in the middle for pro-bowler Aaron Donald, and former first round pick Michael Brockers. There have been some rumblings that Fairley may compete for a starting role in the front four in St. Louis, but would need to dethrone either Brockers, or Donald to do so. Rams fans will need to wait and see how this one plays out in training camp and preseason, when Fairley will see most of his reps.

What should the Rams do? Re-Sign

Nov 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; St. Louis Rams strong safety Mark Barron (26) warms up prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

William Hayes, Defensive End: 2015 cap hit, $4.4 million

Hayes is entering the final year of a three-year deal he signed back in 2012 that will pay him $3.1 million in base salary alone this year. He was rewarded with such a deal after finishing third on the team in sacks that year with seven. Since then Hayes has posted nine total sacks. Five in 2013 and four last year. The seven sacks were a career high, but nevertheless his production has decreased. Hayes is not considered a starter on the current roster, and with Robert Quinn under contract until 2019, and Chris Long under contract until the end of 2016, there won’t be any changing of rank on the edges. Hayes adds nice depth and experience, but whether he stays or goes will make no difference to the success of failure of this team.

What should the Rams do? Let him walk

Mark Barron, Safety: 2015 cap hit, $2.3 million

Barron was acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year via trade that sent two draft picks over to the Bucs. These included a fourth and a sixth round pick in this past draft. Barron was a top ten pick for Tampa Bay in the 2012 draft. He was a very highly rated defensive back in college and became the highest such player drafted out of Alabama. He started his pro career off with a bang, including taking his first career interception back to the house for six against the New England Patriots. Barron trailed off as the year wore on and was traded in October of 2014. The Rams have needed help in the secondary for quite some time. Opposing teams average almost 250 yards through the air on the Rams defense. They have ranked 19th in passing defense for two consecutive years. Barron will add some punch to the defensive backs unit in St. Louis and should provide great relief and rotation play in the future.

What should the Rams do? Re-Sign


Remaining free agents of note:

Rodney Mcleod, Safety: 2015 cap hit, $2.3 million. The Rams should re-sign McLeod. Please note McLeod will be a restricted free agent in 2016.

Brian Quick, Wide Receiver: 2015 cap hit, $1.7 million. The Rams should let him walk without serious improvement.

Nov 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; St. Louis Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Trumaine Johnson, Cornerback: 2015 cap hit, $1.7 million. The Rams should explore other options.

Chris Givens, Wide Receiver: 2015 cap hit, $1.6 million. The Rams should let him walk without serious improvement.

Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback: 2015 cap hit, $1.5 million. The Rams should re-sign Jenkins.

*Not all 2016 free agents listed here. Check out the full list here.