An unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NFL career, defensive tackle Michael Brockers entered the March 18 new league year in uncharted territory.
Nearly three weeks later, his future is secure after signing a 3-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Rams.
"When I had the opportunity to go back to the Rams, it was like heaven," Brockers said on a video conference with local media Monday afternoon.
Les Snead's first ever draft pick as the Rams' general manager, Brockers has recorded 344 combined tackles, 23 sacks and nine pass breakups since entering the NFL as the 14th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He has played in 123 out of 128 possible games across those eight seasons, and also has not missed a regular season game since the start of the 2017 season.
The 29-year-old Brockers set a career-high for combined tackles in a single season with 63 in 2019, adding three sacks and one pass breakup. Additionally, scouting service Pro Football Focus said Brockers tied with the Atlanta Falcons' Grady Jarrett for the sixth-highest run defense grade of any interior defensive lineman (82.6).
Once he officially became an unrestricted free agent last month, Brockers said multiple teams expressed interest in him.
According to multiple reports, he initially agreed to terms with the Baltimore Ravens on a 3-year deal. However, he said when the Ravens received the results of his outsourced physical – he sustained an ankle injury in the 2019 season finale – the deal fell through.
Brockers, though, said he primarily wanted to play for the Rams all along.
"I always wanted to be back with the Rams, I always wanted to stay here," Brockers said. "So for me, that was a blessing just to have a chance to get back with the Rams, and ultimately we made it happen."
These days, Brockers is spending his offseason rehabbing that ankle injury. He said he feels good and although isn't running yet, he has been able to do isolated lifts, jump ropes and physical therapy.
Besides that, the former LSU standout is also doing "a little bit of everything" while he spends time at home with his wife and their three children while sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
"A little video games, a little movies, a little kids activities," Brockers said. "You've got to do some kids activities having little ones, so we have construction paper and little Crayola scissors all over the place. Definitely doing a lot to just get our mind off of everything outside and get together and have some family time inside."
Brockers' new contract positions him to play at least a decade with the same franchise, an opportunity not every player is fortunate to receive. For that, he is grateful.
"It's a blessing first of all, and secondly, man, it's just a testament to how I come into work," Brockers said. "I come into work happy, joyful, never a down day because I get to choose how I come into work, and I love what I do and I love the people I'm around."