Like some of his fellow teammates, Rams defensive lineman Morgan Fox put together the best season of his career statistically in 2020.
His 22 total tackles, six sacks and two pass breakups were all career-highs. He also added one forced fumble and one fumble recovery as he played in all 16 regular season games for the second-straight year.
However, perhaps the most obvious example of what he meant to the defensive line rotation was the vote of confidence he received from teammate and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, who in late December said Fox was capable of stepping up with Michael Brockers out for the regular season finale after landing on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
"We know that Fox is going to step up and continue to play at a high level, like he's been doing all year," Donald said leading into the Rams' Week 17 matchup against the Cardinals.
Fox followed that up with a season-high four total tackles and his third sack in four games to help the Rams clinch a playoff berth.
Now, after all of that cumulative production last season, the 26-year-old Fox is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 17.
So, what are the options for Fox and the Rams?
The Rams could re-sign Fox, bringing him back to play alongside Brockers, Donald, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Greg Gaines and A'Shawn Robinson. Fox's return would help provide defensive line coach Eric Henderson and new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris with continuity and experience to work with up front. Fox also contributed on special teams as well.
If the two sides decide to go in a different direction, Los Angeles could look for Fox's replacement through this year's NFL Draft. Another possibility could be promoting and developing one of the defensive lineman it signed to a reserve/future contract this offseason – Eric Banks (6-foot-5, 274 pounds) and Jonah Williams (6-5, 275) both have a frame similar to Fox (6-3, 275).
While player development is important, Fox's important role as Brockers' backup helped the Rams not miss a beat in a critical game. Plus, given the uncertainty surrounding what the offseason will look like in terms of on-field workouts during organized team activities, Fox's experience would help minimize the impact of having to virtually install Morris' scheme should Los Angeles have to go that route. Between each of those factors, a return would benefit both Fox and the Rams.