Should Rams consider signing LB Jamie Collins?

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Linebacker was seen as a weakness for the Los Angeles Rams all offseason long. The team only made one notable addition at the position by drafting Ernest Jones in the third round, feeling confident in the players they already had.

Kenny Young has since emerged as a quality starter, with Troy Reeder running next to him as the No. 2 linebacker. Jones and Travin Howard are the primary backups, though neither has contributed much.

The Rams don’t necessarily need to add linebacker depth or talent, but an interesting player just became available: Jamie Collins.

The veteran was released by the Lions after a poor start to the season, seemingly because Detroit couldn’t find a trade partner for the linebacker after it was reported that he was on the block. Trading for him and his bloated contract wasn’t a good option for the Rams, but now that he’s a free agent, there’s a case to be made for Los Angeles to bring him in.

Though Collins looks like he’s lost a step this season, he can still be an effective linebacker when not asked to drop into coverage as much as the Lions had him doing that. Pro Football Focus gave him a coverage grade of 42.8 in the first two weeks, allowing four catches on four targets for 63 yards and a touchdown.

He’s still solid against the run when teams try to rush the ball inside, grading out at 79.8 in that department, according to PFF. And as a situational pass rusher/blitzer, he can generate pressure, doing so on two of his four pass-rush attempts this season.

The Rams just lost Justin Hollins for 8-10 weeks, and the other players behind him are both injury-prone. Terrell Lewis has recurring knee issues and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo has had a stint on IR every year so far.

Collins could come in and be a rotational player on first and second down where he can rush the passer or help against the run. He’s no longer fast enough to cover running backs and premier tight ends the way he used to, but there might still be a role for him.

And now that he’ll start fresh with a new contract, it works better for the Rams than trading for him would have. Seeing as no team bit on a trade for the veteran, it’s likely he’ll be forced to take a lot less money on the open market, potentially in the range of just $1 million for the season.

The Rams could make that work and try to find a role for him up front now that Hollins – who like Collins can also play off the ball or rush the passer – is out for an extended period of time. By no means should Los Angeles open the checkbook and give Collins a deal worth more than $1 million, but he’s someone to consider.