LA Rams LB Cory Littleton earns 9th best free agent available in 2020 honors by Pro Football Focus
The LA Rams free agent ILB Cory Littleton will no doubt draw a great deal of interest in the 2020 NFL Free Agent market. Not only is he a talent inside linebacker, but the recent retirement of Carolina Panther linebacker Luke Kuechly has shrunk the supply of linebackers while adding to the demand.
Littleton has even more good news coming his way. Pro Football Focus listed him as the ninth best free agent available in 2020. All this serves to place Littleton into the upper tier for free agent signings in 2020. But Littleon is not without his flaws. Per the same PFF article, Littleton grades out an abysmmal 103rd out of 126 for his rush defense. That is certainly an area the LA Rams are very interested in improving.
With the Rams holding limited cap space in 2020, the matter of re-signing Littleton begins to approach a very gray area. If the Rams exhaust what little salary cap space remaining in 2020, should they commit a significant portion of it to a player who is so incredibly weak on running plays?
Conversely, what other options do the Rams have right now?
This is a hard decision for the team to make right now. If the Rams succeed in freeing up cap space, they may be more inclined to pay top dollar for Littleton, weaknesses and all. If not, the team may be forced to move on from LIttleton, much like they did from left guard Rodger Saffold a year ago.
Littleton is certainly one of the LA Rams success stories, especially a success for linebacker coach Joe Barry. Undrafted in 2016, he signed on with the Rams. He has since started 25 games for the teams, including all 16 games in 2019, the season he was named to his first Pro-Bowl. He is most certainly about to attract some interest this off-season. Barry was recently signed to a new contract to remain with the Rams. Perhaps the Rams are counting on Barry to produce Littleton’s successor from last year’s crop of UDFAs?