Snead Calls Re-Signing Secondary 'Priority A'

Posted Feb 25, 2016

General Manager Les Snead said Los Angeles has been engaging agents this week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS -- While the primary objective of the NFL Combine is to collect data on the next generation of players, general manager Les Snead said there are more items on the agenda this week.

Head coach Jeff Fisher has maintained since the beginning of the offseason that the Rams would like to have all unrestricted free agent members of the secondary back for 2016. To that end, Snead said Los Angeles has been engaging their agents this week.

“If I were to prioritize what’s going on in our building -- and there's a lot of things going on -- that’s Priority A right now. Even at this Combine right now, we’ll meet with their reps maybe more than one time,” Snead said. “And I’m not saying anything gets done. But we’ve got a lot going on here, but that’s Priority A.”

Starters Trumaine Johnson, Janoris Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, and Mark Barron are all slated to become unrestricted free agents in March. Though Snead had no firm updates on the status of a potential deal for any individual, he sounded as though the talks had been productive.

“Right now it’s, ‘Hey, we’d like your guy back.’ And they’re saying, ‘We’d like to be back.’ I think we’re stuck on the number as we all go through this,” Snead said. “Everybody’s trying to find out what the realistic value is, and that’s why I do think it is a positive that we have that 48-hour period.”

The time frame to which Snead is referring is often called the “legal tampering” period, in which agents may exchange financial terms with other teams before the official start of the league year -- when those contracts may be signed. According to Snead, there are plenty of benefits to those two days.

“They can come back and say, ‘This is what we got.’ And you either say yes or no. Or they figure out what we’ve been offering all along is the best deal,” Snead said. “So I think you’re going to see more and more UFAs get into that 48-hour period and get it worked out from there.”

One option the Rams have to retain their own free agents is to use either the franchise or transition tag. Snead said Los Angeles will continue to evaluate the merits of utilizing them until the deadline next week.

According to Snead, contract discussions with all of pending free agents have been ongoing throughout the year, but nothing could get finalized. And now that the free agency period is so close, Snead is anticipating players may want to explore what’s out there.

Still, keeping players the Rams have developed, as well as locking up players still under contract -- defensive tackle Michael Brockers, for instance -- remains a strong priority for the club.

“[T]he philosophy is to draft, develop, and re-sign your own -- a core group of guys,” Snead said. “So there are some guys who are following this class that we’d like to get done as well.”

That’s part of why Snead called the prospect of retaining all of Johnson, Jenkins, McLeod, and Barron realistic.

“You know what, that is the goal,” Snead said. “It’s a tough task, but it’s realistic. I don’t think it’s not realistic, especially considering the cap room and things like that.”