The Rams officially released former University of Alabama safety turned big-league linebacker Mark Barron last week, but that doesn't necessarily mean the four-year Rams veteran won't be back for a fifth full season in horns, according to general manager Les Snead.
"Going to Mark, we are going to continue to monitor his market, right? We felt like by releasing him he would be able to get a sense of — and he deserved that, was as healthy as he's been at the end of the year, and had gotten over some of the surgeries and was playing well — what is his value today?" Snead said on Tuesday.
Barron battled an ankle/heal injury in the later half of the 2017 campaign, before returning to the field Week 5 of the 2018 season. The veteran played in 12 games this season — each of them as a starter. He logged 60 total tackles, along with 1.0 sack, a pass defensed, a forced fumble, and a safety for the NFC Champion Rams.
As Barron tests the waters of the free agent market and remains on the Rams' radar, Snead and his club have a couple of options to replace their starting linebacker's production, looking ahead to 2019.
"If we can't, we drafted people," Snead said, considering the possibility that the Rams are unable to bring Barron back onboard. "Micah Kiser was drafted. And you always probably have to add depth."
With linebackers Bryce Hager and Ramik Wilson also becoming free agents on Wednesday afternoon, Snead pointed to both the NFL Draft and his 2018 fifth round pick, former Virginia linebacker Micah Kiser as possible options to fill the void in the middle of coordinator Wade Phillips' defense.
Kiser played in all 16 regular season and three postseason games for the Rams this season, almost exclusively in a special teams role.
"There's probably a little more work to do at that position through this process," Snead added.