News broke yesterday that the Los Angeles Rams signed former Tennessee Titans corner Coty Sensabuagh to a 3-year/$19 million contract. The move certainly raised some eyebrows as many are unfamiliar with the four-year pro from Clemson who has recorded a mere two interceptions in his career. Regardless, he was thrust into the Titans’ starting lineup last season after Jason McCourty was slowed by injuries; he has also spent time under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams when Williams was a Titans assistant in 2013.
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Sensabaugh isn’t a household name but he does provide depth in a secondary that lost Janoris Jenkins to the Giants, signing a 5-year/$62 million deal with a whopping $28.8 million guaranteed. Quite frankly, Jenkins was grossly over paid, especially for a player who openly admitted he coasted through the fourth quarter of games. Sensabaugh is expected to compete with E.J. Gaines to start opposite Trumaine Johnson but has the experience to be a key nickel back and slot corner.
The Rams have chosen to stay in-house on both sides of the ball, and appear to be going forward with Case Keenum as the starter after signing him to a first round tender. Under Jeff Fisher, Los Angeles has been rather unsuccessful in free agency, but with holes still left to fill, let’s take a look at the remaining free agents who could provide an impact.
Russell Okung, OT: Okung has been a key aspect of the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line since 2010. Okung is a swing tackle who has made his impact felt on the left side as a Pro Bowler in 2012 and offers the Rams an upgrade over Greg Robinson. Okung’s natural position is left tackle, allowing the Rams to kick Robinson inside and cut guard Rodger Saffold, which, if done after June 1st, will save the Rams more than $4 million in cap space and give them a total of $25.9 million and $77.3 million in 2017. Okung is valued at $8.9 million , a hefty amount considering the Rams’ available cap space. At only 28, the Rams could lock him into a four-year deal with a lower base salary that increases over time.
Evan Mathis, G: Mathis is another “oldie-but-goodie” at 34 years old but he is a two-time Pro Bowler, first team All-Pro, and Super Bowl champion. He brings veteran leadership to a young team as well as dominance in run blocking, grading out as Pro Fooball Focus’ top guard in run blocking, that the Rams so desperately need with Todd Gurley toting the rock. He ultimately finished as PFF’s third guard overall, and shouldn’t be a cap casualty coming off a 1-year/$3.25 million deal with the Broncos providing the Rams the opportunity to lock him in to another 1-year deal worth roughly $4 million with $1.5 guaranteed. A two-year option is also a possibility as Mathis has played his best football as of late in his career and likely still has two years left.
Reggie Nelson, FS: This choice may raise some eyebrows because of Nelson’s age (32), but he is coming off his best season as a Pro Bowler and All-Pro who was the co-leader in interceptions. The Rams let Rodney McLeod walk and re-signed Cody Davis to fill the void but at 26, Nelson would be a valuable asset for Davis to learn from while continuing to rotate and provide depth. Nelson is valued at only $4.8 million, and while we don’t know much is left in Nelson’s tank, he has been a consistent force his entire career while he just set a career high in interceptions. It’s hard to believe he has any less than three years left, allowing the Rams to give him contract in the neighborhood of 3-year/$17.4 million.