With the Los Angeles Rams cutting veteran defensive end Chris Long, the team must be able to bring some help on the line during the free agency. The Rams currently have three players on free agency that played on the line last year: Nick Fairley, William Hayes and Eugene Sims. Both Hayes and Sims can play the defensive end position to fill where Long was, but who should the Rams go after more?
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Let’s take a look at last year season stats. Last year Sims totaled 13 tackles along with 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. On the flip side, Hayes played almost double the snaps than Sims. Hayes totaled 36 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 2 force fumbles. In four years with the Rams, Hayes has 21.5 total sacks compared to Sims 9.5 sacks in six years. Anytime Long, or another defensive end went out with injury time, Hayes stepped up and took the leading role.
With Hayes about to enter his 9th season in the NFL with half a sack away from 30 career sacks, multiple teams might be interested in the defensive end from Winston-Salem. For the Rams they must jump on giving Hayes a new deal, or else another team like the Miami Dolphins might steal him away. According to multiple sources, the Dolphins see Hayes as an immediate upgrade.
Tuesday, the Dolphins did agree on a two-year $16 million contract with defensive end Mario Williams, but the phins might continue to pursue Hayes. Miami currently has DE Cameron Wake, but according to Ian Rapoport, they are looking to add a 3rd DE for rotation.
Hayes started 11 games for the Rams last season and played an important role in the defensive. The Rams already have enough on their plate already, but now they might have to defend other teams trying to “steal” away some of their key free agency targets.
Hayes was a fourth round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2008. After four seasons with the Titans, during which he totaled 8 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 111 tackles in 48 games played with 12 starts, Hayes moved to the Rams. With St. Louis he started to prove himself. Hayes had 20 starts over four years which 11 of those coming last year. In that four-year span, he recorded 21.5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 158 tackles.
Hopefully the Rams can open the free agency Wednesday with a bang, and sign multiple defensive players that they desperately need. Stay tuned for the start of Free Agency which starts March 9th at 1:00 pm pacific standard time.