If the Falcons cut Dante Fowler Jr., should Rams re-sign him?

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams are getting better at the strategy of the NFL roster building. After years of practice, there are many more forces at work than just cutting big checks for big-name players. There is the are of the deal, the art of knowing the right time to part ways, and the strategy of mixing young players with veterans to yield the best mix of experience with youthful energies and lower costs.

While the Rams are getting better and better at many techniques, they still have a ways to go in terms of the way the New England Patriots manage their roster. In the year where the Patriots lost quarterback Tom Brady to free agency, they also had eight players opt-out. Still, the Patriots did manage to finish 7-9 despite such adversity.

In 2021, those eight players who opted out will return. They are looking pretty good for the 2021 NFL Draft as well.  Their nine picks will allow the team to address any roster depth concerns rather quickly. And thanks to nearly $20 million of available cap space rollover, the Patriots have an estimated $70 million to spend in the 2021 NFL Free Agency market, placing them among the Top-Three NFL teams with available cap space.

Oh, but here is where it really gets good. Now, the Patriots are bringing back OT Trent Brown, a player who played excellent on their offensive line. Now? He’s coming back with little cost in terms of trade and in terms of salary cap expense.

Okay, if the Patriots can do it, what stops the LA Rams from duplicating that same strategy? The Rams made a star out of Dante Fowler Jr. only to watch him fail with the Atlanta Falcons. If he is cut, should the Rams reach out to re-sign him to a one-year contract?  Why not?

If Fowler hits the Free Agency market, the Rams could sign him to another modestly priced one-year deal. Say something in the $8 million range.  Then turn him loose behind Aaron Donald. Fowler knows the LA Rams and he’ll play well in the Rams defense. In 2022, he will be available for another big contract. Perhaps he won’t sign a contract large enough to trigger the award of a third-round compensatory pick but should warrant a fourth-round compensatory pick in 2023.

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One year. Great 2021 production as the younger players learn to play at the position. A fourth-round compensatory pick in 2023?  That’s how the LA Rams remain successful with few picks or cap space. It’s how the New England Patriots have done it for many years.