Do you have any idea how many players the LA Rams project to lose to FA in 2024?
By Bret Stuter
Can you believe it? The LA Rams roster, currently stalled at just 45 players under contract, would understandably be expected to be a bit stable in terms of the annual attrition that happens when player contracts expire. The fact that the team is down to just 45 players would lead one to believe that the Rams would be staring down from 10 to 15 projected free agents at the end of the 2023 NFL season.
Amazingly, that is not close. The projected number of free agents lost in 2024 per Spotrac.com is currently 20 players. That means 20 of 45 LA Rams are projected to test the 2024 NFL Free Agency market. Of that group, nine players are projected to be unrestricted free agents (UFAs), four players are projected to be restricted free agents (RFAs), and the remaining seven players are expected to be Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs).l
The struggle with the free agency projections for 2024 is the simple fact that many of those players are key starter or contributors:
2024 Offense FA distribution - (10)
Offensive Linemen (4) - IOL Tremayne Anchrum (UFA), OT Alaric Jackson (RFA), OT A.J. Arcuri (EFFA), OT Zach Thomas (ERFA)
Running Backs (2) - RB Cam Akers (RFA), RB Ronnie Rivers (ERFA)
Tight Ends (2) - TE Tyler Higbee (UFA), TE Brycen Hopkins (UFA), TE Jared Pinkney (UFA)*
Wide Receivers (2) - WR Austin Trammell (ERFA), WR Van Jefferson (UFA)
* While Spotrac list Pinkney as a Rams roster loss in 2024, the Rams released Pinkney early into the NFL new season.
The status of RB Cam Akers is incorrectly reflected as UFA by Spotrac.com. Because he was unable to compete in 2023 due to his injury (Listed on the NFI list), he did not accrue the prerequisite three years necessary to qualify as an unrestricted free agent. The above list has been corrected (Thank you John for pointing me in the right direction on that front.
2024 Defense FA distribution - (9)
Defensive Backs (2) - DB Shaun Jolly (ERFA), DB Jordan Fuller (UFA)
Defensive Linemen (4) - DE Jonah Williams (RFA), DE Earnest Brown IV (ERFA), DT Marquise Copeland (UFA), DT Larrell Murchison (UFA)
Inside Linebacker (1) - ILB Christian Rozeboom (RFA)
Outside Linebacker (2) - OLB Michael Hoecht (RFA), OLB Keir Thomas (ERFA)
Does that even matter now? I think it's a great item to use and compare to the current LA Rams 2023 NFL Draft shopping list. One article identified the LA Rams' needs in the draft as OT, OLB, QB, and TE. Another article identified OL, OLB, DB, TE, and RB. But comparing the Rams shopping list from the 2024 FA lists above, you could guess that the Rams will target OL, DL, OLB, TE, WR, and DBs during the 2023 NFL Draft, and load up on DL, OL, DB, OLB, ILB, RB, WR with priority free agent signings after the draft.
The LA Rams currently project to have 22 draft picks combined in the 2023 and 2024 NFL Drafts. While that may be the way the Rams doll out their positional selections, that does not consider any other roster moves that may impact the Rams in the meantime. After all, the Spotrac projection presumes that all 45 players currently on the Rams roster will finish out the season in horns, and that may not be the case.
This mild revelation does raise the stakes somewhat for the LA Rams player selections this year. If the Rams haven't the funds to restock the shelves with veterans this year, the Rams front office may need to extend their austerity through 2024 to level out the team's finances once more. It's going to be a thrilling journey throughout 2023. Be sure to buckle up and enjoy the ride.