Looking into LA Rams rookie extension candidates and what they might get

The 2021 draft class was unheralded, but several players from that draft have made an impact for the LA Rams. Now, here's what those extension candidates may get in their next contracts as their rookie deals get set to expire.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams, Aaron Donald, Ernest Jone
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams, Aaron Donald, Ernest Jone / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages
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DT Bobby Brown III

When the LA Rams drafted DT Bobby Brown III, his body of work at Texas A&M showed an incredibly strong interior defensive lineman who could bring pain and pressure to opposing quarterbacks. Unfortunately, BB-III has taken some time to get on track in this defense. He was injured in his rookie season, impacting how quickly he earned playing time. In 2022, he was suspended for six games. When he was finally reinstated, he needed time to return to the rotation. Even in 2023, he was injured for four weeks, but he was able to get 313 defensive snaps under his belt.

While some may not appreciate what Brown brings to the defense, I view his contribution as far greater than his 31 tackles, four tackles for a loss and one quarterback hit. Brown played 313 defensive snaps, giving teammate NT Kobie Turner a chance to rest during the games. And Brown is a true blocker gobbler, as he is strong enough to command the attention of two or more offensive linemen when he is on the football field. His progress was significant in 2023, and with significantly more playing time, I believe that he could play a significant role in the team's success in 2024. But he is not there just yet.

Extension verdict: None will be offered this year.

ILB Ernest Jones

I truly believe that inside linebacker Ernest Jones is completely underestimated in the defense, and by the NFL at large. Jones accounted for 145 tackles, 4.5 quarterback sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, and six pass deflections. He was a one-man wrecking crew and his presence ensured that the defense was always capable of making a stop.

Jones is on track to earn $1.4 million in 2024. Still his progress over his first three season has been phenomenal. Let's turn to a data table to show exactly what I mean:

Ernest Jones

Tackles

TFLs

QB Hits

QB Sacks

Ints

PDs

Snaps

Salary

2021

61

1

3

1.0

2

4

440

$870K

2022

114

4

1

0.0

1

2

723

$1.19M

2023

145

14

6

4.5

0

6

934

$1.16M

While the team has not prioritized extending inside linebackers in the past, I believe that Jones has earned the exception to the rule. He has delivered more and more over time, and has truly been one of the key defenders of the group. He was the defensive signal caller in 2023, and that mantle is likely to be placed on him in 2024 as well. Jones is a no nonsense player who loves to tackle and hit ball carriers, and it shows. Have the Rams seen enough to justify extending him? I think so. He has been a quality defender who never backs down.

Extension verdict: The Rams may view Jones as a critical keystone to the defense going forward. Over the Cap projects his value at $13 million APY. That appears to be fair value.

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