While many unrestricted free agents grab the headlines with the start of the new league year, the Rams have done some work for a couple of their restricted players, too. Los Angeles has extended qualifying offers to two of its RFAs, quarterback Case Keenum and running back Benny Cunningham.
General manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher have maintained that Keenum would be the incumbent starting quarterback heading into 2016, and the qualifying offer will, in all likelihood, keep the signal-caller product around to compete for the No. 1 role. The Rams extended a first round tender to Keenum, which means that if another team would like to sign him, they would owe Los Angeles a first-round pick.
As for Cunningham, he received a tender that gives the Rams the right of first refusal to any contract he may be offered from another team.
Originally an undrafted free agent out of Houston, Keenum spent all of 2012 on the Texans’ practice squad before starting eight games for the club in 2013. The quarterback bounced back and forth between the Texans and Rams in 2014 before being traded back to his current club last March. He compiled a 3-2 record as a starter in 2015, completing 60.8 percent of his passes for 828 yards with four touchdowns and only one interception.
Cunningham first came to the Rams as a UDFA out of Middle Tennessee State in 2013. Over the last three years, the running back has become particularly productive not only in third-down situations, but also as a kick returner. Cunningham finished No. 4 at 28.6 yards per return, including a 102-yard dash against the Buccaneers in Week 15.
Offenisve lineman Brian Folkerts was slated to become an unrestricted free agent after not receiving a tender, but re-signed with the club on Wednesday.
For their other RFAs, the Rams declined to extend offers to linebacker Daren Bates and running back Chase Reynolds. While Los Angeles could still bring those players back, all three are now unrestricted free agents.