Grading Rams’ signing of Kamren Curl: LA looks to have gotten a steal

Safety was high up on the Los Angeles Rams’ list of needs this offseason with both Jordan Fuller and John Johnson III hitting free agency. It’s not often a position that they prioritize, but they made a big move in the secondary on Thursday night by signing Kamren Curl to a two-year deal worth up to $13 million.

It’s not a huge contract by any means, but the Rams still managed to land one of the top safeties on the market – and a player who’s only 25 years old. At $6.5 million per year, which is the max Curl can earn, it makes him the 24th-highest-paid safety in the league.

That’s the type of value the Rams are getting with Curl.

Pro Football Focus projected him to get much more than he did in free agency. PFF’s projection was a four-year deal worth $11.5 million per year for a total value of $46 million with $26 million guaranteed. We don’t yet have the exact numbers on guaranteed money, but Curl’s base value is half of PFF’s projected guarantee for the young safety.

Talk about a bargain.

Obviously, none of this matters if Curl doesn’t perform or play well with the Rams. He’ll only be a bargain or steal if he becomes a valuable starter for the next two seasons. There’s a good chance that happens, though.

In four seasons since coming into the NFL as a seventh-round pick in 2020, he’s never had a PFF grade lower than 66.6. He’s excellent in run defense as a box safety, which is how the Rams are expected to deploy their new defensive back. He earned a run defense grade of 80.5 in 2022, which ranked seventh among qualified safeties. Better yet, his coverage grade of 80.8 was the fifth-best among all safeties, allowing just 312 yards and two touchdowns in coverage.

Curl isn’t a true centerfield safety, but rather someone who can play split coverages in two-high looks, hang over the middle of the field as a robber, line up in the box as a run defender or match up with a tight end in man coverage.

The Rams still probably want a true free safety who can cover the post and take away throws in the middle of the field, but the addition of Curl is an excellent one. He’s an immediate starter in the secondary and likely an upgrade over Johnson as the strong safety closer to the line of scrimmage.

He does need to clean up the missed tackles because he did have 14 of them last season, but he had just 11 total in 2021 and 2022 combined.

This could end up being a home run signing by Los Angeles, given the value and its need at safety. Curl is still only 25 years old and already has four years of experience, and he now joins a defense that has gotten the most out of players such as Fuller, Johnson, Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott.

If he can create more turnovers (only three career interceptions), he could become one of the best young safeties in football.

Grade: A-

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire