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Rams tender restricted free agents, exclusive rights free agents

Rams linebacker Cory Littleton headlines the group of nine restricted and exclusive rights free agents that Los Angeles has tendered in advance of the new league year on Wednesday.

The club's starting middle linebacker in 2018, Littleton is an upcoming restricted free agent and has been given a second-round tender. With that, Littleton is able to negotiate with other teams but should he reach a deal, that team would have to send L.A. a second round pick as compensation.

Safety Blake Countess, running back Malcolm Brown, and cornerback Troy Hill all received an original-round tender. Since both Brown and Hill entered the league as undrafted free agents, this gives the Rams only the right of first refusal to any deal the two should reach on the open market. But because Countess was a sixth-round draft pick, any other team that signs Countess would have to send L.A. a sixth round pick as compensation.

Los Angeles also tendered five of its six exclusive rights free agents: defensive end Morgan Fox, cornerback Kevin Peterson, wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge, cornerback Dominique Hatfield, and return specialist JoJo Natson. Both Fox and Peterson suffered season-ending knee injuries before the season started, but they could also play significant roles on the 2019 squad if healthy. Natson, of course, took over as the Rams' returner due to the injury to former returner Pharoh Cooper in 2018. Hodge and Hatfield played mostly on special teams during the 2018 season.

Additionally, outside linebacker Dante Fowler has signed his one-year contract for the 2019 season.

Free agency will officially begin with the onset of the new league year on Wednesday at 1 p.m. PDT.

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