LA Rams lose FA OLB Dante Fowler Jr. to Falcons

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams tried, but lose the bidding on OLB Dante Fowler Jr. to the Atlanta Falcons

The LA Rams entered the 2020 NFL Free Agency outgunned and with only a few bullets. So it really should not surprise anyone that the team was unable to match the offers for their highly productive unrestricted free agents.

The latest free agent to find a better bid elsewhere is outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr.  Perhaps of all the Rams defenders to find work elsewhere, his is the deepest cut of all.  The Rams had already surrendered defensive end to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens on March 16, 2020.  The team learned of a similar fate, losing the services to the higher bid of the Las Vegas Raiders, for inside linebacker Cory Littleton.

But the case of Dante Fowler Jr. was much different for the LA Rams in two ways. First of all, he was named, along with left tackle Andrew Whitworth, as priority signings for the LA Rams by general manager Les Snead.

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The second reason Fowler Jr. was important to re-sign with the LA Rams is new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley comes from the Vic Fangio school of defensive philosophy. Those defenses require incredible strength on the defensive front (DT Aaron Donald) and fast pass rush from the edge.  Fowler would have been huge for Staley in the new defensive scheme.

But, that won’t happen now

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While it may not matter to some of you, in terms of the potential for 2021 NFL Compensatory picks, the contract terms come in thusly:

Based on that compensation, that contract will position the Rams into consideration for a second third-round 2021 NFL comp pick.

As of now, the Rams 2021 NFL Draft picks will be: 1-2nd, 1-3rd, 1-6th, 1-7th.  Add to that the projected compensatory picks: 2 -3rds, 1-4th.  Suddenly, the LA Rams are sitting on four day-two picks and three day-three picks.

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This loss is one the Rams cannot compensate for without addressing by signing a veteran from elsewhere.  Look to the Rams to use Brandon Staley or Kevin O’Connell’s connections to find a mid-value player who has a huge upside.