Coming into the offseason pressed tight against the salary cap, most expected the Los Angeles Rams to have a quiet offseason follow up to their Super Bowl championship season. Nope.
Proving the salary cap is just a number, the Rams’ made a blockbuster after the free agent window officially opened. The team signed former Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson to a three-year, $46.5 million deal, giving their offense even more firepower, if that was even possible. They also made a couple of low-key, but important moves to re-sign left tackle Joseph Noteboom, who’ll take over for Andrew Whitworth, and center Brian Allen. It’s possible the Rams could bully their back to the big game by dropping 40 or more points on all comers.
But it’s not been a spring without losses. Here’s a look at what the Rams have done in free agency so far.
Rams players added
Sometimes the best free agent signings are your own, and the Rams made two smart moves to hang onto center Brian Allen and offensive tackle Noteboom. The later steps right into retiring Andrew Whitworth’s old spot, where he more than held his own while the veteran was on the shelf for three games this season. The headline addition for the Rams, so far, is wide receiver Allen Robinson, who leaves a terrible situation in Chicago.
Rams players lost
The Rams cap situation meant that the team was going to have to suffer some big losses in free agency. Los Angeles’ defense is really going to miss Von Miller, who was instrumental in the team’s Super Bowl run. Miller signed a six-year, $120 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. Cornerback Darious Williams didn’t get the headlines, but he was an underrated starting corner opposite Jalen Ramsey. He was able to cash in on the Jaguars’ big spending spree with a three-year, $30 million contract. The offense line is going to look a little different too. Starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth retired, and they lost guard Austin Corbett, who started for the last two seasons, to the Panthers. Fans will miss Johnny Hekker, the punter they released, but the team can find a capable replacement.
Grade so far
B: The losses on defense hurt. For a team whose identity is so wrapped up in its offense, it’s hard to see how they win the whole thing without the tandem of Miller and Aaron Donald. But Miller was one of the best free agents on the market, period, and it always seemed unlikely they’d be able to keep him. Combined with the loss of Williams, a solid corner who rarely makes mistakes, is going to have an impact on the pass defense next season.
The Rams’ free agent moves on the other side of the ball will give them more than enough firepower to keep pace. Noteboom doesn’t have a ton of experience, but from what we’ve seen so far, his three-year, $40 million contract could end up being one of the best deals in the NFL for a starting left tackle. Allen, the center, is an important part of the system who keeps heat off his quarterback. The move that really stands out so far is the addition of Robinson. A legit No. 1 receiver, he gives quarterback Matthew Stafford a big target who can haul in contested passes against any cornerback. Robert Woods is still on the roster, and there some talk they still wanted to bring back Odell Beckham, who’s going to be late getting on the field this season because of his torn ACL. We’ll see if either of those players are still on the roster when the season starts, but even if it’s just Cooper Kupp, Robinson and Van Jefferson, the Rams are even better at wide receiver than they were last year. — March 17