5 free agents the LA Rams could sign today, and should

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams free agency Rams Roster Cameron Dicker
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Option V: P Cameron Dicker

I fear that the Riley Dixon experiment at punter this year has already ended up as poorly as the Sam Sloman kicker experiment did in 2020. So now the question is, what can you do about it? Well , this is not something that should shock anyone. After all, veteran punter Dixon was ranked 32nd in the NFL in gross punting yards in 2021.  His average gross punt was 44.4 yards.

If you flip to net punting average, which is the average that factors in punt returns against those punts, that average drops off a cliff to 39.5, no better than 33rd place in NFL punter rankings for 2021.

Now, guess where Dixon is averaging for the LA Rams so far this season?  His gross punting of 45.0 yards is only good enough for 24th place among NFL punters. So what about his net punting average?  He is averaging just 32.0 yards, which is abysmal. Is it a small number? Four punts is a small number, yes.  But it’s a continuation of the trend that has been an ongoing battle for Riley Dixon throughout his career.

Some have argued that Dixon is doing a good job and that the blocked punt was not his fault. Well, I beg to differ. Dixon takes too long to punt the ball, does not get enough hang time once he does punt the ball, and has struggled to avoid touchbacks, supply enough hangtime to compel the returner to fair catch the football, and even pooch a coffin corner to pin the opponents deep in their own end zone. In seven seasons, Riley Dixon has had six punts blocked. For comparison purposes, former LA Rams punter Johnny Hekker played 10 seasons for the LA Rams, and had only had three punts blocked.

Dicker season

The LA Rams waived punter/kicker Cameron Dicker, but his one preseason game was rock solid. In that game, Dicker was called upon to kick and punt, resulting in three punts for 158 yards and kicking three for three on extra points. The LA Chargers returned two of his punts for a total of 11 yards, resulting in a net punting average of 47.0 yards. That average would be good enough for the Rams’ Dicker to be among the Top-5 punters in the NFL today.

But what of his inability to hold the football for field goals?

I cannot believe that the LA Rams could be held hostage to remaining at the bottom of the NFL pile in punting because the guy who put them there can hold the football for a field goal, can they? I mean, sign Dicker to the practice squad for a couple of weeks, and practice four hours a day at placing the football down for kicker Matt Gay if that is what it takes.

In 2020, the Rams started Sam Sloman as their placekicker for seven weeks, and then Kai Forbath for two weeks. That is nine weeks before LA Rams ultimately signed the guy who would put up a Pro Bowl season the following year.

Perhaps Cameron Dicker is not a Pro Bowl punter waiting to burst onto the NFL scene. But he is familiar with the LA Rams, his limited experience was a far cry better than what the Rams are getting now, and because he is a rookie, his upside dwarfs that of Riley Dixon.  Will the Rams re-sign him? Perhaps, and perhaps not.  But the LA Rams could sign him today, and should.