3 free agents Los Angeles Rams need to target in free agency

Here's what the Rams could do with the money they have available to them.

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

So far, the Rams' free agency plan has been pretty obvious.

While teams aren't allowed to make any signings official until the new league year begins on Wednesday afternoon, the past 48 hours – when "legal tampering" is allowed – have featured more than a couple moves that tip Los Angeles' hand. Mostly, the signing of Lions' guard Jonah Jackson (3 years, $51 million) and the re-signing of guard Kevin Dotson (3 years, $48 million) make it clear: upgrading the offensive line was top priority, and one that couldn't necessarily wait until the later waves of free agency, or the NFL Draft.

And while the first wave of NFL free agents have all but "signed" already, the vast majority of guys on the open market are still available. Building out from the line is never a bad way to start, but the Rams still have roster holes that need to be addressed if they plan to push the 49ers in the NFC West and move past the Wild Card round in 2024.

Nobody attacks free agency quite like the Rams, and even with a limited amount of cap space to work with this season, there are plenty of intriguing options.

Here's who LA could target going forward.

EDGE Danielle Hunter

Hunter may be a bit out of the Rams' price range, but since when has throwing big money at a free agent been a problem for GM Les Snead? At 29, Hunter continues to be one of the premier pass rushers in football: last year, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 18th best edge rusher in football, and he's coming off a year in which he set a career-high in sacks (16.5), total tackles (83), and forced fumbles (4).

The market for edge rushing has been weird – not too many would have expected Leonard Floyd to sign before Hunter, or for the Panthers to sell so low on Brian Burns, for example – so maybe that bodes well for getting Hunter on a team-friendly deal?

He'd come in and immediately be the best edge rusher on the team, and if Aaron Donald doesn't return next season, probably the best defensive player too. In 2023, LA's pass rush was mediocre at best: they ranked 14th in ESPN's pass rush win rate stat, were tied for the 2nd-worst sack total (41), and didn't have an edge rusher ranked higher than 68th (per PFF).

Hunter solves most of those problems instantly.

CB Kendall Fuller

Considering the Rams' cap space status, it's probably an either-or thing with Fuller (projected by PFF to sign a three-year, $25 million deal) and Hunter (three-year, $47 million). But for as many concerns that the Rams have on the edge, they also need to seriously address the secondary.

Darious Williams played well in Jacksonville last year, but like a lot of corners, has put together a career full of up-and-down seasons. Derion Kendrick and slot corner Cobie Durant had underwhelming seasons as well. As a whole, the pass defense was capital-B bad: they ranked 20th in yards allowed, 22nd in touchdowns, and 23rd in interceptions; only one team had a worse turnover percentage.

The bet here is that they still address corner early in the draft, but Fuller, Williams, and a highly-graded rookie looks a whole lot better than what they ran out last season.

He's also more versatile than a lot of free agent guys at that position – he has experience in the slot and at safety. He's also fairly dependable, having played in 15+ games in five of the seven seasons he spent in Washington.

There's always a role for productive veterans that can be moved around the field, and Fuller fits that role perfectly for the Rams.

3. LB Patrick Queen

Update: Patrick Queen signed a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, but all the reasons he fits are why the Rams should look at other top linebackers.

We're only doing big name free agents, because bargain-hunting is a Week 2 game.

The Rams need someone to pair next to Ernest Jones, who's gotten better each season and finished 2023 as Pro Football Focus' 13th best linebacker after setting career-highs in tackles, sacks, and QB hits. PFF projects Queen to get a four-year, $72.5 deal ($50 million guaranteed) which is a lot of money. But Queen's only 24, has already made made a 2nd team All-Pro, and has 13.5 sacks through the first four seasons of his career. He's also only missed one game over that span, and started all 67 games he's appeared in. Free agency is always something of a dice roll, but Queen – so far, at least – is as consistent as they come.

He'd certainly be an upgrade over Christian Rozeboom and Byron Young.

feed