The Los Angeles Rams were able to retain edge rusher Dante Fowler after trading for him mid-season from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fowler returns to the Rams on a prove it deal, which is a one-year deal, $12 million deal that could be as high as $14 million with incentives. This deal looks like a lot for Fowler, but it solidifies up the Rams defense after signing Eric Weddle to a deal earlier last week.
Fowler will be earning a lot of money, but it was obvious from the start that the Rams wanted to keep Fowler and he wanted to come back to Los Angeles. He will always hold a special place in Rams fans hearts, after he broke up the pass from Drew Brees that ended up being intercepted by John Johnson. That interception lead to the game-winning field goal that sent the Rams to the Super Bowl.
For stats this season, Fowler had four sacks total, two of which came with the Rams. He added 1.5 sacks and four tackles during the playoffs, which is significantly more production than his numbers in the regular season. His production does not show he was worth that much money, but the Rams are betting on his potential. Fowler can be a huge disrupter on the edge, but has not shown that he will truly be a threat as a pass rusher.
With the Rams committing a lot of money to Fowler, they only realistically have between $5-6 million given the cap hits for Fowler and Weddle, along with signing draft picks. Rams fans are now wondering what the next move will be. Honestly, don’t expect too much more from the Rams at this point in free agency.
Two of the main goals going into free agency was re-signing Fowler, and getting safety help since Lamarcus Joyner was going to walk. They addressed both of those. It was accepted most likely that Rodger Saffold was going to leave along with Ndamukong Suh. So, these two parts of the team became huge priorities and Les Snead addressed them immediately.
When it comes to the offensive line, it seems that the Rams are perfectly content with Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen coming in and starting. Both Noteboom and Allen got plenty of reps with the first team offense last year, when Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan took days off of practice. They were both drafted last year and should step in and take over the left guard (Noteboom) and center (Allen) position. Do not expect the Rams to spend money on an offensive lineman anytime soon.
Similarly with the linebacker position, the Rams let go of Mark Barron who was starting at the inside linebacker position. People thought the Rams should immediately go out and sign a player like Clay Matthews, but it seems that news has fizzled out. Matthews is still a viable option, but there has been no new news on that front. Therefore, second year player Micah Kiser should be just effective enough for the Rams. Kiser was a great prospect coming out of the University of Virginia, and was a defensive menace. He was the star of the Virginia defense, and the Rams got a great pick in him. He should make an impact if the Rams allow him to start next year.
The Rams could still make some moves if they decide to re-structure players contracts. Michael Brockers has been talked about as a potential contract they would re-structure or release all together. However, with the lack of news from the Rams as of late, it is doubtful that they will re-structure this contract. The Rams look like they are poised to go with a little bit of inexperience at the offensive line and linebacking corps. Usually, as a Rams fan, I would be skeptical of them doing this, but since Snead and Sean McVay just took this team to a Super Bowl, I think I will trust them on this one.