7 key players LA Rams could lose to Lions or Chargers via FA
By Bret Stuter
Defensive role players
Any defense is built upon more than the 11 starters. In fact, when installing a news defense, in some ways it is just as critical to finding knowledgeable rotational players who can run the same defensive scheme as proficiently as the starters. As Brandon Staley works with the Chargers defense, he may not need to bring in an entirely new cast of players. But he will want some of ‘his guys’ from the start.
Enter linebacker Travin Howard, who was injured at the start of the 2020 NFL Season, but who was slated to line up alongside starting ILB Micah Kiser. While we never saw the duo play alongside one another, the reports out of training camp were such that we truly missed out. Kiser was the heavy hitter, while Howard was more fleet-footed, and was like velcro to receivers who tested the middle of the Rams defense.
Coming off a season-ending injury, Howard won’t trigger many offers. But with Staley and former Rams LB coach Joe Barry with the Chargers, they will have an intimate familiarity with Howard’s outlook and can make a market-value offer to him to sign with them. Would the loss of Howard hurt the Rams? Well, it most certainly will not help.
Edge rusher Rivers
Edge pass rusher Derek Rivers was a late-season addition to the Rams defense and was brought on board to deepen the Rams depth at the outside linebacker position. The Rams could not keep rookie outside linebacker Terrell Lewis healthy enough to step onto the football field. The team also struggled with depth edge rusher Jachai Polite, who was eventually cut from the team.
Rivers played five games for the LA Rams, 29 defensive snaps, and recorded one tackle for a loss in the season finale. He played six more defensive snaps for the Rams in the playoffs and recorded another tackle. No, that’s nothing to get excited over. But he would be an inexpensive depth player who knows the Rams defense. Now, he is a viable option to sign with the Chargers to earn a larger role while playing for their defense.