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Free Agent Spotlight: Ahkello Witherspoon was stabilizing veteran presence in Rams secondary

When he appeared on the Rams Revealed podcast this past season, defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon was candid about his concerns regarding when his next NFL opportunity might come. 

Released by the Steelers on May 17, Witherspoon signed with the Rams in late June 2023. 

"I was extremely concerned, I have no problem saying it," Witherspoon told Voice of the Rams J.B. Long on November 21. "Just coming off the injury I had last year, a pretty bad hamstring. That was very stressful, just wondering if I could ever run again at the clip that I had, and just would I have the opportunity to play the game that I love? So definitely wasn't sure where it be, and just thankful it's been this." 

So too are the Rams. 

Concerns subsided and gave way to what turned into a career season for the 28-year-old Witherspoon, who turned out to be just what a young defensive back room needed as a calming, stabilizing presence in Los Angeles' secondary. 

Now, Witherspoon is a pending unrestricted free agent with his contract scheduled to expire at the start of the new league year on March 13. 

Beyond veteran leadership, Witherspoon also brought production: His three interceptions matched his single-season career-high from 2021, and he set new career-highs in total tackles (52) and passes defensed (14). Most notable, he played and started in every regular season game for the first time in his career – likely the carryover from finding a new trainer and program that he hadn't had earlier in his career last offseason in an effort to enter this season as healthy as possible.  

Should L.A. not re-sign Witherspoon, it has two players who have accrued lots of starting experience through their first two seasons in Derion Kendrick and Cobie Durant. Durant played on the outside at times toward the end of the season after beginning the season at star. 

If the Rams go external for Witherspoon's replacement, a healthier cap situation would make free agency a viable option. The draft could be a possible avenue as well.

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