Why the Rams may be waiting until after the draft to sign free agents
Over the course of the last six years during the Sean McVay and Les Snead era, the Los Angeles Rams have been very strategic about the way they add talent. Not only do they tend to trade picks for players, but they aren’t usually big players early in free agency.
They’ve been idle throughout the first week and a half of free agency this year, not signing a single player besides Coleman Shelton. There have been no indications of them showing interest in anyone else, either. Snead and McVay seem content with their current group of players – at least for now.
That’ll obviously change during the draft where they have 11 picks, and it could shortly after the draft, too. The key factor in all of this? Compensatory picks.
As of now, the Rams are projected to receive three compensatory picks in the 2024 draft for their free-agent losses. Over The Cap projects they will receive sixth-rounders for Matt Gay and Baker Mayfield, as well as a seventh for Nick Scott. Greg Gaines and Riley Dixon’s values are to be determined because comp picks are based on the player’s contract.
If the Rams sign unrestricted free agents now, those players will count against the compensatory pick formula, likely canceling out one of the picks the Rams are slated to receive. This could be why they’re waiting to sign any outside free agents until after the draft, which is when players no longer count toward the formula.
Thus, the Rams can sign anyone they want after the draft without fear of canceling out one of their late-round picks in 2024. They’ve always been conscious of the compensatory pick formula, targeting players who were released, which means they don’t cancel out comp picks. That was the case with Bobby Wagner last offseason, as well as DeSean Jackson in 2021.
By waiting until after the draft, the Rams can also better assess their roster needs. They could use depth and talent at every position, but if they come out of the draft with two more cornerbacks, they might feel they don’t need to use their valuable cap space on one in free agency.
The compensatory pick formula isn’t the only thing causing the Rams to be inactive in free agency, but it’s surely a factor.
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