The Los Angeles Rams have their franchise quarterback and running back, as well as a defense that’s littered with talent. With Sean McVay and Wade Phillips coming over to head the coaching staff, things figure to be looking up.
Now, it’ll just be a matter of making smart moves and adding players around their two offensive studs to help them develop further. That’ll have to come in the draft, where they are a bit thin on draft picks, but with just over $15 million in cap space, the Rams won’t be able to spend big to completely revamp their team.
Here are five players they should target in free agency.
C JC Tretter (Packers)
Tretter has injury questions to overcome, but as long as he can convince teams he can stay healthy, he’ll be the top center available. He just turned 26 years old, so he’ll be around for a long time – again, a key in developing Jared Goff. Even if the Rams give him a shorter-term deal, forcing him to prove he can stay on the field, it would be a smart move. Tretter should be an asset in free agency and a serious target for the Rams.
Getty ImagesMike McGinnis
LB Dont'a Hightower (Patriots)
The Patriots are going to do their best to bring back their stud linebacker, but there’s a good chance he’ll hit the open market. He’d be a great fit in any defense because of his versatility, boasting the ability to drop back in coverage and come at the quarterback on a blitz – something not every linebacker can do. The Rams have the money to make Hightower an offer the Patriots would be reluctant to match. If they can pry him away from New England, it would be a huge plus for the Rams.
USA TODAY SportsDan Powers-USA TODAY Sports
G Ronald Leary (Cowboys)
Leary is one of the youngest players on the market and figures to fetch about $8 million per year. He hasn’t started all 16 games in a season, but that’s not a knock on his ability. He was simply blocked by La’el Collins on the depth chart, who gave up the starting job due to injury. When Leary stepped in, he played very well. The Rams need a good run blocker up front to get Todd Gurley going again, which is exactly what Leary is.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsJerome Miron
OT Matt Kalil (Vikings)
The Rams need help all across the offensive line, namely at left tackle. Greg Robinson clearly can’t hold up at that spot, so it’s time for an upgrade. Kalil has battled injuries and isn’t an elite tackle, but he does still have potential and can be a solid starter at left tackle. Because of his injury history and inconsistency, his price will be significantly lower than Andrew Whitworth's, but he’s also younger. As a result, he’ll have a chance to grow with Jared Goff and build chemistry with him.
WR Pierre Garcon (Redskins)
DeSean Jackson seems like the obvious fit for the Rams, coming over from Sean McVay’s former team, but let’s not forget the other free-agent receiver out of Washington. Garcon fits better with what the Rams need, considering they already have a small, quick receiver in Tavon Austin, although he isn’t the deep threat Jackson is. Garcon’s best years are behind him, but at 30 years old, he’s younger and a more balanced receiver than Jackson. Garcon would fit well with what McVay is trying to build in Los Angeles.