9 dream free-agent targets for the Rams this offseason

The Los Angeles Rams have to get their finances in order before they can even think about signing any free agents this offseason, currently sitting more than $14 million over the salary cap. They’ve begun signaling moves they’ll make to create space – like parting with Bobby Wagner and eventually Leonard Floyd – but that doesn’t mean the Rams can spend the way they have in past years.

It’s still fun to think about the possibility of some big-name free agents landing in Los Angeles this year, including the top defensive tackle and offensive lineman.

Here are nine dream free-agent targets for the Rams as they navigate the offseason.

LB Tremaine Edmunds

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The Rams are parting ways with Bobby Wagner, which leaves a void at linebacker. The Rams don’t often spend big on this position, but Edmunds would be a great signing for Los Angeles, pairing him with Ernest Jones.

Edmunds can play in coverage and stop the run, rarely missing tackles on ball carriers. He’s an impactful player in the middle of the defense and would be the perfect replacement for Wagner.

DE Dre’Mont Jones

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Jones didn’t get the franchise tag, so he could hit the market next week. He’s an excellent fit in the Rams’ 3-4 scheme, replacing A’Shawn Robinson if he leaves in free agency. According to Pro Football Focus, his 138 pressures since 2019 are 19th among interior defenders. So there’s no question he knows how to get after the quarterback.

It’s just hard to see the Rams paying up to sign Jones, even as much as he’d help the pass rush and Aaron Donald.

S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

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Gardner-Johnson was a home run addition to the Eagles last season, leading the NFL with six interceptions as their slot defender and safety. He also had one sack and 67 total tackles, doing a little bit of everything for Philadelphia.

The Rams never sink much into the safety position but CJG can play the slot, which would free up Jalen Ramsey in the secondary.

OT Orlando Brown Jr.

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Brown might come away as the most expensive free agent on the market this year, so he’s a real dream player for the Rams. But he would also help the offensive line and offense as a whole immensely. Of course, signing Brown would mean the Rams either move on from Joe Noteboom or shift him to guard, but neither is out of the question.

It’s just hard to imagine the Rams signing anyone for more than $20 million per year this offseason, which could be Brown’s price tag.

S Jessie Bates III

Bates has been a little bit up and down the last three years, looking like one of the best safeties in 2020 before regressing slightly in 2021. Last season, he got back to a high level of play for Cincinnati, picking off four passes and breaking up eight total. He’s a centerfield safety who can really cover on the back end, which is something the Rams could use in the secondary. Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp are both free agents after starting in Los Angeles last season, so the positional fit is there for Bates.

DT Javon Hargrave

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Hargrave is a stud defensive tackle, the best in the free-agent class. He’s recorded pass-rush grades of at least 90.0 in each of the last two seasons, per PFF, recording 18.5 sacks in that span. In the Rams’ scheme, Hargrave wouldn’t have any trouble finding a spot, showing the ability to play 3-technique like Donald or 5-technique as the defensive end.

CB Jamel Dean

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The Rams will need a new No. 1 cornerback if Ramsey is traded and Dean might be the best one available in free agency. He’s big, physical and can run with faster receivers, similar to the way Ramsey can. Don’t expect the Rams to pursue Dean, especially if Ramsey stays, because he’s going to cost a lot in free agency. But the talent is unquestionably there and the Rams have holes to fill in the secondary.

OLB Marcus Davenport

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Davenport finished the 2022 season with only a half-sack, but he did have 34 total pressures in 15 games played – once again being limited by injuries, which has been the story of his career thus far. There’s no denying his talent and athleticism, and he fits the Rams’ mold of bigger edge rushers (6-foot-6) but he could use a change of scenery and the Saints will have trouble paying their top free agents, given their cap situation.

G Isaac Seumalo

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Seumalo doesn’t seem like he’d be a dream signing for the Rams, but he would be a significant upgrade at guard if David Edwards walks. He was PFF’s 10th-highest-graded guard in the NFL last season and hasn’t yet turned 30, so he wouldn’t be a one-year rental. Of all the guards and centers on the market, Seumalo might be the best fit for the Rams – and he’s on the more realistic end of these dream targets.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire