The Los Angeles Rams must continue building momentum by signing key free agents in the 2016 offseason.
Unfortunately, this free agency class does not possess any true starting quarterbacks besides Sam Bradford. The Rams traded Bradford last offseason, so there is no way he is back with the organization a year later.
Hence, the team must recruit players to fill needs at other spots on the roster.
On defense, the Rams have 7 key players due for a new contract in the secondary and defensive line. The Rams may not be able to keep all of them, despite their success. However, their defense should continue their success if they keep the unit together.
Besides resigning their own free agents, here are five targets for the Rams to pursue when free agency begins March 7.
No. 1: Alshon Jeffery– Chicago Bears
The Rams are Hollywood’s team now. They can make a free agency splash by signing the biggest name at the receiver position. Jeffery is a likely candidate for the franchise tag, but the Rams should offer the 25-year-old a lot of money if he hits unrestricted free agency.
The 25-year-old Pro Bowl receiver is the big target the Rams desperately need. Even if the Rams consider drafting a receiver at No. 15, the Rams could use as many receiving threats as possible for their mediocre quarterbacks on the roster. Additionally, Jeffery was a part of the Rams before a 2012 Draft-day sent him to the Bears.
No. 2: Russell Okung– Seattle Seahawks
What better way for the Rams to make splash than stealing a NFC West rival’s left tackle? Injury concerns and limited cap space could allow Okung to slip out of the Seahawks’ grasp.
Okung is still one of the better left tackles in the league. Meanwhile, Greg Robinson is one of the worst left tackles in the league by Pro Football Focus’ standards. The Rams can salvage the career of the 2014 No. 2 pick by moving him to guard or right tackle. Whoever plays quarterback for the Rams will need protection on their backside. Okung was a proven blocker on the 2014 Superbowl Seahawks, and the Rams should recruit his services.
No. 3: Travis Benjamin– Cleveland Browns
Benjamin does not bring the same big-body or big-name as Jeffery. However, Benjamin was more productive in 2015. He came less than 100 yards short of 1,000 receiving yards with the Browns up-and-down quarterback play.
Even though Benjamin is not a big target, the last ranked Rams offense needs an explosive playmaker like him. He can play on the outside opposite of Kenny Britt or a high-draft selection. Tayvon Austin can continue his role exclusively in the slot.
No. 4: Stefen Wisniewski- Jacksonville Jaguars
Tim Barnes started at center for the Rams last season. He ranked as one of the worst centers with a -18.4 grade, according to Pro Football Focus. The same graders ranked Wisniewski the middle of the pack at No. 12, with a 3.2 accumulative grade.
Wisniewski signed a one-year deal with the Jaguars last year. He has some experience at guard from his rookie year with the Oakland Raiders. At only 26-years-old Wisniewski could become a solid starting center or guard for the Rams. This is key as they hope to open running lanes for Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley over the next few years.
No. 5: Rolando McClain– Dallas Cowboys
James Laurinaitis ranked No. 59 out of 60 inside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus. Therefore, the Rams can clearly upgrade at the position.
McClain redeemed his career the past two seasons in Dallas. Last season he registered 80 tackles and played behind Sean Lee. McClain has experience in the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses. He is a monster at 6 feet 4 inches tall, and would help the Rams struggling run defense. He moves well and would work nicely with some of the dominate players on the Rams defense.
Teams can not negotiate with free agents until March 7. Hence, the Rams have plenty of time to figure our which players are worth signing.
*Players rankings via Pro Football Focus, subscription required.
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