With the start of the offseason, head coach Sean McVay and the rest of his staff will be taking some well earned time off to cap an exciting year. But because it is the NFL, there really is no true offseason for the group.
Soon, McVay and general manager Les Snead will begin evaluating how to improve and sustain the team’s recent success — beginning with taking a look at the players headed into free agency.
The following list of 22 players will be up for free agency — both unrestricted and restricted — on March 14.
Unrestricted free agents can negotiate exclusively with the Rams until the new league year begins, but if they remain unsigned by that point, they will be free to sign with any team they choose.
Restricted free agents, on the other hand, may receive one of three tenders — first round, second round, or original round. Should those free agents reach an agreement with another club, the player’s new team would owe L.A. a draft pick as compensation. Los Angeles would also have the opportunity to match the offer sheet.
Exclusive rights free agents are players whose contracts have expired but have only two or fewer seasons of accrued service time. Should L.A. extend the players a qualifying offer, they must sign it to play for the franchise or sit out the season.
Additionally, the Rams have may use the exclusive franchise tag, non-exclusive franchise tag, or transition tag on one of their players. That decision will need to be made by March 6.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS**
— OLB Connor Barwin
Barwin signed with the Rams last spring, reuniting with his former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. He appeared in 14 games this season, recording 43 tackles, nine quarterback hits and 5.0 sacks. Barwin has said he would like to return to Los Angeles, believing he fits best in Phillips’ 3-4 defensive scheme.
— WR Sammy Watkins
Watkins has also expressed his desire to remain with the Rams next season. The Clemson product was acquired by the club from Buffalo in early August. Watkins recorded a team-leading eight receiving touchdowns and finished with 593 yards in 15 games.
— CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
Robey-Coleman signed a one-year deal last spring after spending the first four years of his career with the Bills. Robey-Coleman has provided a solid backup for the club’s starting outside corners and has been tremendous in the slot. In 15 games, the corner recorded 50 tackles — two for loss — nine passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one interception.
— C John Sullivan
The veteran center was acquired by the Rams this season in an effort to bulk up the offensive line. Throughout the entire season, Sullivan has been a huge help for quarterback Jared Goff in helping to diagnose defenses and interpret coverages. He has also played a critical role in the O-line room, providing leadership to many of the unit’s younger players.
— CB Trumaine Johnson
Johnson has played under the franchise tag for the past two seasons, but had arguably one of his best campaigns this year. He finished the season with 70 tackles, 14 pass breakups and two interceptions. He was also named a captain this year, pointing to his leadership presence on the defense.
— S Lamarcus Joyner
Joyner made the transition from cornerback to free safety this season and has since flourished at the position. Although he fought through a hamstring injury that kept him out of several games, the Florida State product still managed to record 60
tackles, seven pass breakups, and a team leading three interceptions, with one returned for a touchdown.
— TE Derek Carrier
Carrier reunited with McVay when he was traded to the Rams from Washington in September. With Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett utilized more at the tight end position, Carrier played a larger role on special teams this year.
— S Cody Davis
Davis was placed on Injured Reserve in early November after suffering a quad injury in the Rams’ Week 6 victory over the Jaguars. Prior to suffering the injury, Davis had been an impressive rotational player in Phillips’ scheme — recording an interception, two pass breakups and 22 total tackles. And he added on three tackles and a pass breakups in his return to game action against the 49ers.
— RB Lance Dunbar
Dunbar opened the season on the clubs’ reserve/PUP list after aggravating his knee during the offseason. He was active for four games this season, finishing the year with 11 carries for 51 yards and one touchdown.
— DT Dominique Easley
Easley tore his ACL during training camp and spent the entire season on Injured Reserve, but was a key member of the club’s defensive front last year.
— OT Cornelius Lucas
The Rams signed Lucas after their Week 1 victory over the Colts to help bolster the club’s offensive line. He started only one game — Los Angeles Week 17 loss to the 49ers — in which McVay rested the majority of his starters.
— LS Jake McQuaide
McQuaide has been with the franchise since 2011 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State. Since then, the long snapper has been an integral part of the Rams special teams unit, alongside punter Johnny Hekker and kicker Greg Zuerlein.
— DT Tyrunn Walker
Walker played an important role as a rotational player on the Rams’ defensive front in 2017 after joining the club after three years in New Orleans and two years in Detroit. He played in all 16 games this season, recording 25 tackles, 1.0 sacks, and one forced fumble.
*RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS *
— OLB Matt Longacre
Longacre ended the season on injured reserve after suffering a back injury late in the season. But he was very productive early on, finishing the year with 5.5 sacks — third most on the team. He also recorded 27 tackles and 12 quarterback hits.
— OT Darrell Williams
Williams came in for several members of the Rams offensive line this year, providing a solid rotational piece upfront. He played in all 16 games and started in the club’s season finale as the left tackle.
— LB Cameron Lynch
Lynch was signed to the active roster off of the practice squad in December and participated in three games this season, recording two tackles.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
— RB Malcolm Brown
Brown solidified his role as the teams No. 2 running back this season, rushing for 246 yards and one touchdown.
— CB Troy Hill
Hill took on a larger role for the Rams down the stretch, filling in for the injured Kayvon Webster. He made the most of his few starts, recording 18 tackles and five pass breakups.
—* LB Garrett Sickels*
Sickels was a member of the Rams practice squad, but was activated to the active roster in Week 17.
—* K Sam Ficken*
Ficken was signed by the Rams after a season-ending injury to Greg Zuerlein. Although he struggled in his first contest against the Titans, the Penn State product finished the year off on the right foot — nailing 4/5 point after attempts and 2/3 field goals.*
*— *OLB Carlos Thompson
Thompson was promoted from the practice squad in December, recording three tackles through three games played. *
*— *FB Zach Laskey
** The Georgia Tech product was waived by the Rams during the preseason and did not appear in any regular season games.