How should LA Rams handle 2021 NFL Free Agency?

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams are not alone with uncertainties about 2021, but how will the team resolve their 15 players entering NFL free agency?

The LA Rams are not alone in their inability to know the financial limitations for the 2021 NFL salary cap. In fact, the LA Rams are in good company, along with 31 other NFL teams facing uncertainty for 2021 and beyond. But that future is tomorrow, and the 32 teams must focus on football today. Well, that’s true for the coaches and fans. But for the personnel department, the team was already looking ahead to 2021 as soon as 2019 ended.

When the 2020 season began, the team was staring down the barrel of trying to re-sign defensive back, Jalen Ramsey, extend WR Cooper Kupp, extend WR Robert Woods, and extend safety John Johnson III.   After a flurry of front office activity, the Rams only have John Johnson III playing on an expiring contract now.

Can’t re-sign them all

But that does not mean that the team is in the clear for 2021 by any means. In fact, the Rams’ commitment to Ramsey, Kupp, and Woods has complicated any hopes that the team may have harbored for an easy path to re-signing any of their remaining projected free agents.

Who are they? You may recognize a few of these unrestricted free agents: C Austin Blythe, CB Troy Hill, RB Malcolm Brown, TE Gerald Everett, LS Jake McQuaide, K Kai Forbath, DE Morgan Fox, S John Johnson, WR Josh Reynolds, and OLB Samson Ebukam. Other categories include Leonard Floyd on a voidable contract, exclusive rights free agents in Coleman Shelton and Travin Howard, and restricted free agents Darious Williams and Johnny Mundt.


The team has already begun the process of filling vacated roster spots. The team has added TE Brycen Hopkins, WR Van Jefferson, S Jordan Fuller, and RB Cam Akers via the draft.  While the team will likely lose several key starters, the team would be well served to work hard to bring back some. Who will return?

If 2020 was any indication, the team will work hard to retain offensive linemen. That means that C Austin Blythe, TE Johnny Mundt, and IOL Coleman Shelton could be looking at new contracts.  The Rams will likely extend a qualifying offer to starting CB Darious Williams to keep him through 2021. After that, it’s really guesswork.

What goes into deciding who stays?

The Rams are still in the process of determining who is worth keeping. After all, the offense has been a bit of a mixed bag so far this season, while the defense is still determining who excels and who does not in Brandon Staley’s defensive scheme. It’s clear that the Rams have invested in their future by loading ten of a possible 16 practice squad spots with defensive players. Of that number, seven are projected to play on the defensive line of scrimmage.

Of course, the LA Rams have other factors in these decisions. The most obvious is who can the Rams afford to re-sign? Who offers the most value on the roster? Even the likelihood of recouping a valuable compensatory pick in the 2022 NFL Draft becomes part of the decision making process. In any case, the LA Rams need to showcase their talented rookies soon, to ensure that they will be up to the challenge of a significantly larger role next season.

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We’ll have more to discuss over this topic soon. Stay tuned!