4 former Rams free agents who still need to find a home in 2024

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

While the 2024 NFL Free Agency market has run its course through the first two waves, the LA Rams have concluded the majority of their shopping. What remains in the windshield is the 2024 NFL Draft. Then, and only then, the team may return to the free agency market to round out the roster and fill any remaining depth concerns.

But what of the players who are putting themselves into the market who have yet to agree to terms to play in 2024. Is it a matter of low-ball offers? Have offers come, but not from the right teams? Or is it a matte of no offers yet? The truth of the matter is that contracts must be endorsed by both parties, and the inactivity of signing with a team can be the result of no team interest, team interest in getting a bargain price, or no player interest.

Right now, leverage for contract terms is in the hands of NFL teams. They have picked over veterans and await a new influx of over 250 rookies through the 2024 NFL Draft. But the pendulum will swing in the players' favor after the draft once training camps ensue. As players work out for their coaches, needs for veteran help may surface. Also, injuries could force teams to reinforce shallow positions. Which Rams' free agents may need help to find a new team? Here are four players who still need to find a home in 2024:

C Brian Allen

Let's be quite clear. Center Brian Allen is a solid NFL offensive lineman who has the talent to start on most NFL teams. The drawback is that he has not demonstrated the durability to do so. Over six seasons with the LA Rams, Allen has played in 50 games, and started 32 of them. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 303 pounds, Allen is a stoudt shorter offensive lineman who has the ability to dig in his heels and negate even the strongest and most physical nose tackles in the NFL

But he suffered a devastating knee injury in 2019 that ended his season prematurely and kept him on the bench through all of 2020. Even upon returning in 2021, he missed one game and left two other games early due to injury.

Of course, that should not derail plans for him to sign on as a solid backup for a new NFL team. Because he has the ability to start for short durations, he makes an excellent mentor for a rookie center, or even as a backup to a center who is himself returning from a 2023 injury. He could even be an option if the Rams do not address their offensive line in the 2024 NFL Draft.

DB John Johnson III

When the 2023 NFL season ended, the team knew that due to expiring contracts, the secondary would be getting a facelift in the offseason. While the team was unlikely to extend the starting trio of John Johnson III, Jordan Fuller, and Ahkello Witherspoon, there were plenty of hints dropped that the team had a role in 2024 for John Johnson III if he wanted it.

Rams reporter Stu Jackson confirmed those rumors by speaking with GM Les Snead about the possibility of JJIII returning:

So far, that has not happened.

We know that offseason plans are dynamic and fluid. The front office could not have anticipated signing a very hot safety named Kamren Curl on an incredibly team-friendly deal. It's that development that may have thrown a wrench into the gears of extending Johnson.

Still, the Rams have lost two safeties and signed just one. Unless the Rams address the safety position in the 2024 NFL Draft in the early rounds (1 through 4), keep John Johnson III on your radar. He could be returning

TE Brycen Hopkins

Whatever it was about tight end Brycen Hopkins that kept him out of the running for targets in this offense, he couldn't work through the problem. In four seasons with the LA Rams, Hopkins caught 17 of 23 passes for 243 yards and no touchdowns. That includes the NFL playoffs as well. He played just 381 offensive snaps (including playoffs) over that period.

Even when starting TE Tyler Higbee was forced to miss games, the team found other tight end option to start ahead of Hopkins.

When drafted, Hopkins was touted as a pass-catching tight end out of Purdue who could make circus catches, but who occasionally struggled with routine passes. He was never considered a strong blocker, but the team faced the exit of TE Gerald Everett, and Hopkins seemed coachable enough to assume that vacated role. It never happened.

For a team that has a role for a pass-catching tight end, Hopkins could be the answer. After all, he did catch all four passes thrown his way in Super Bowl LVI. There is no larger stage than that. He could sign on with a new team after the draft, and I believe that he could even earn his way on a 53-man roster. But the Rams clearly are content to part ways here and now.

DB Ahkello Witherspoon

There is no logic behind the fact that after Ahkello Witherspoon showed up on a veteran minimum's contract and put up an incredible season for the Rams secondary, that the team has not made him an offer to return. I suspect that the reason that Witherspoon has not signed with anyone is not the lack of contract offers, but the value and duration of those offers. At 29 years old, this is the prime time for Witherspoon to get paid top dollar.

I'm not convinced that he gets paid at that level with so many promising defensive back prospects arriving to the NFL via the draft.

Witherspoon was a solid addition to the defense, and only showed a bit of regression after suffering a groin injury late in the season. He deserves a chance to return. Unfortunately, the Rams prioritized signing other defensive backs, and no longer have ready cash to spend on Witherspoon's contract.

That is not to say that they have already waved goodbye to him. If necessary, the two sides could negotiate an incentive laden contract that gets Witherspoon his money but does not bury the team in a present day salary cap crises.

All in all, the Rams may still have some interest in former players. We just have to see what transpires during, and after, the 2024 NFL Draft.

Thanks for reading.