Predictions for LA Rams 8 top free agents this year

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Free Agency
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Free Agent IV – Defensive back Darious Williams

Background – Darious Williams was signed off the waiver wire from the Baltimore Ravens, and has rapidly proven to be an NFL starting defensive back. Well, better than a starter, as he helped the Rams defense transform into the NFL’s best.

Strengths – Williams has learned to compensate for his height by incredible timing and acrobatic leaps that deflect passes and can even place him into circus-catches for an interception. Williams’s willpower turns a pass into an opportunity to seize the football and claim it for the Rams. He is a wonderful complement in the Rams secondary.

Weaknesses – Well, the greatest weakness is his height. He stands just 5-foot-9 and weighs 184-pounds. He overcomes those limitations with perfectly timed jumps and incredible athleticism. But that exacts a huge price as he bangs against bigger bodies on every play.  While he is fast, he is not as fast as the fastest receivers. While he can jump, he cannot get as high as the tallest receivers. He can dominate 90 percent of NFL receivers. The other 10 percent can dominate him.

Estimated market value – If Darious Williams were to sign a free-agent contract this off-season, he would likely command upwards of $11 million per year.  That’s pretty much out of the ballpark for the Rams.  Fortunately, the LA Rams can provide him a one-year tender offer for as little as $2.133 million (Right of First Refusal) up to $4.766 million (First-round tender offer).

Estimated team action – Okay, so his market value is from twice to five times that of the cost to the LA Rams. So it’s a no-brainer, right?  Well, it only makes sense to keep him for a year with a tender offer. But the Rams have never been that easy to predict. Still, it’s a tight fiscal situation in the NFL this year, so I can’t see the Rams NOT doing this. Rams will give DWill a one-year tender offer and try to draft his successor.

Most likely team to sign him – The LA Rams. If they fail to submit a qualifying tender offer, then Darious Williams could be a huge target for 31 other NFL teams and could land a contract of up to $13 million per year.