The Rams have several high-profile players that may hit the open market at the start of the new league year in March. Five of the the club's starters — cornerback Trumaine Johnson, safety Lamarcus Joyner, center John Sullivan, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, and outside linebacker Connor Barwin — are all slated to become unrestricted free agents.
After completing his one-year deal, Barwin is one of several of those players who has verbally expressed his desire to return to Los Angeles next season.
"I'd love to be back," he said recently. "This is my third time [that] I'll be a free agent. I've been down this road before. I'll just let it take care of itself, enjoy these next couple of months, and then hope to be back and get to
L.A. brought in Barwin to help in the transition to coordinator Wade Phillips' 3-4 defensive scheme. Barwin had previously played under Phillips for a couple of years with the Texans.
"I knew what I was getting into as far as who was on the defense [and the] defensive coaches, but I had no idea how special it would be playing for Sean McVay and the rest of his staff," Barwin said.
Barwin also provided a veteran presence on the field and in the locker room. He was voted a captain, then backed up that designation with his performance. Barwin recorded 43 tackles, 5.0 sacks, and nine quarterback hits, while helping to mentor younger players like outside linebacker Samson Ebukam.
Barwin called his time with the Rams "a lot of fun," allowing him to work with a "great group of guys and coaches."
"This team has the strongest foundation of any of the teams that I have gone to the playoffs with," Barwin said.
The Cincinnati product also feels that Phillips' 3-4 system is "the best for me to play in." And his comfort level with the scheme is yet another reason why Barwin hopes to be back with the Rams next year.
"I know the people around here know that and people around the league know that," he said. "So it makes sense from a football standpoint to be back in this system."