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There aren’t any dream free-agent targets for the Rams this year, and it’s the franchise tag’s fault

After going through the offseason with mere pennies in their pocket last year, the Los Angeles Rams actually have some money to spend this spring. Now, they’re not Washington Commanders rich, but they’re also not over the cap by $40 million like the Bills.

As of now, the Rams have about $40.87 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap. That number could grow if they get Joe Noteboom to take a pay cut or release him as a post-June 1 cut, but even $40 million is plenty to work with in free agency.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams make a splash next week, but there aren’t any real “dream” free-agent targets. Sure, Chris Jones is out there, as are Justin Madubuike and Christian Wilkins, but the Rams aren’t going to pay big money for another interior defensive lineman with Aaron Donald still on the books.

The reason for the lack of premier options for Los Angeles is the franchise tag. It’s all the tag’s fault for taking some of the fun out of free agency.

If not for the franchise tag, the Rams would have a boatload of splashy free-agent possibilities.

Jaguars edge rusher Josh Allen? He’d most certainly be on the Rams’ radar.

Brian Burns? Absolutely.

Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr.? Given the Rams’ interest in Mike Evans, you can bet they’d have been in on those two well-built receivers.

L’Jarius Sneed and Jaylon Johnson? With a gaping hole at cornerback, it’s certainly possible.

All of those players were tagged by their respective teams, keeping them off the market. Those would have been the real dream targets for Les Snead and Sean McVay, but the market is lacking that sort of player now.

It’d be nice for the Rams to land Danielle Hunter or Calvin Ridley. They might be the closest things to dream signings for Los Angeles, but they’re also very realistic targets, too. The same goes for Chase Young and Bryce Huff, two other talented edge rushers.

The franchise tag robbed us of Snead swooping in and signing Burns after trying to acquire him two years ago, or adding Higgins to a receiving corps that features Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp. It’s possible the Rams could trade for either of those players, but it’s much less likely.

If the first few days of free agency come and go without the Rams making a splashy signing, blame the franchise tag.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire