LA Rams complete 2022 restricted free agent ranking

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams Free Agency Matt Gay
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Just for kicks

Background – Placekicker Matt Gay (RFA) signed on with the LA Rams midway through the 2020 NFL season, in almost a desperation move after the team had already cycled through four kickers. He immediately brought consistent kicking, dependability that had been sorely lacking.  He’s been the lone shining star in special teams. He’s so good, that it’s almost shocking if he misses, which he seldom does.

Strengths – In any placekicker, you look for three things: accuracy, power, and the ability to kickoff and force opponents to start behind their own 25-yard line. While he hasn’t quite mastered that third objective, he has most certainly been a sure-footed placekicker for the Rams from the second half of 2020 through all of 2021.

Weaknesses – Placekickers are streaky, and it was that streakiness factor in 2019 that cost him his job with the-then Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  In the last two games of the season, he simply went cold, kicking just two of his final six field goals of the season. In the season finale, he missed all three kicks.  While that has not happened with the LA Rams yet, it’s out there.

Team Impact – He has scored 202 points for the LA Rams in 1.5 seasons, and he has shown no signs of slowing down or letting up. He’s been the margin of victory in four games this season. The Rams should not, and will not, let him walk away.

Estimated market value – if the LA Rams decline the opportunity to extend him, he could sign a $7-9 million deal for three years with the right team

Projected team action – The Rams hold the right to submit a Qualifying Tender offer, but I’d expect the team to take a more strategic approach. Look for the team to dangle a three-year $7.5 million contract. That should be enough to get a contract signed.

Most likely team to sign him – LA Rams. If the team is foolish enough to haggle for a cheap price too aggressively, I could see either the Cleveland Browns or the Green Bay Packers in the hunt to give their field goal kicking a substantial upgrade.