Veteran safety option for the LA Rams free agency shopping list
By Bret Stuter
As the LA Rams sort through the chaos of cutting costs in time for the March 17, 2021, 1:00 pm PT deadline, the assumption that the organization will get-‘er-done regarding coming in under the cap ceiling is not made flippantly. Rather it is recognizing that failing to do so is truly not an option.
So we press ahead, aware that the Rams organization has work to do, as they must do each year. And just as 31 other NFL teams are doing right now. After all is said and done, these are not new dance moves for the Rams. They’ve been here before, and likely will be again.
So now the challenge is using the free agency market to find players who can be used like spackle to fill in the Rams roster holes. One large hole is the vacancy created by outgoing free agent John Johnson III. He is aiming for big-bucks, and the LA Rams clearly do not have any free sacks of cash to throw his way. So the team must find other ways of plugging the gap in the secondary.
Of course, one such way to do so is to pull a safety from the same free agency market that connected Johnson with his new NFL team. One such under-the-radar free agent is Former Atlanta Falcons safety, Damontae Kazee.
Kazee arrived at the Falcons in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and won the starting role for the team the following year. But he suffered a torn Achilles Tendon and missed almost the entire 2020 season.
He is good at pass coverage and can flip to either safety role. While the Rams may be content with letting the competition between Terrell Burgess and Taylor Rapp sort out the starter alongside Jordan Fuller, the defense by Raheem Morris will likely require multiple safeties to run smoothly. And Kazee knows Morris’s defense.
Morris can flash the ability to purse-snatch the football from unwary receivers, putting up seven picks in 2018. And he is that ‘ace in the hole’ persona that should the Rams need a healthy player to pick up some starts, he is right there ready to go.
Coming off an Achilles Tendon surgery is not a trivial matter, so the contract will need to include the right language to ensure that the Rams are protected if he cannot go at full strength. But if the Rams feel the need to shore up the safety depth, Damontae Kazee would be an ideal player to bring in on a one-year deal, make his mark to NFL relevance, give younger safeties time to grow, and then sign elsewhere to a large contract.
Rams seem to produce NFL stars now. Might as well embrace the role.