Los Angeles Rams
For first year head coach Sean McVay, even a first-round exit can be marked up as a victory of sorts.
The young leader has earned the confidence of his team, his bosses and his city. Now he just has to figure out which pieces he wants to keep, and which ones to discard this off-season.
His list of current free-agents looks like this:
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Center, John Sullivan
Linebacker, Connor Barwin
Long Snapper, Jake McQuaide
Cornerback, Trumaine Johnson
Free Safety, Cody Davis
Running Back, Lance Dunbar
Free Safety, LaMarcus Joyner
Tight End, Derek Carrier
Defensive Tackle, Tyrunn Walker
Right Tackle, Cornelius Lucas
Defensive Tackle, Dominique Easley
Cornerback, Nickell Robey-Coleman
Free Safety, Isaiah Johnson
Wide Receiver, Sammy Watkins
Youth is a great thing. Especially when you’re trying to win a regular winner like the Rams are. For this reason, I have to believe a deal will get done with Watkins to bring him back for another three years.
The former first-round pick had his healthiest year since his first one, and one of his more successful campaigns as well.
He didn’t surpass his career marks in catches or yards, but found quality over quantity by hitting his second-highest scoring total in his four-year career.
I don’t know if we’ll ever see Watkins reach the ceiling we all thought he would coming out of Clemson, but he can be a very valuable part of this Rams resurrection. I believe McVay knows this.
As for the Buccaneers, Johnson is the name to watch here. He’s the guy the Rams chose to keep when they were forced to choose between he and Janoris Jenkins.
Now, they’ll be in a situation to try and keep him even longer.
He’s only had three interceptions in his time as a L.A. Rams member versus the seven he had during his last year in St. Louis, but the 28-year old is still one of the better perimeter defenders in the NFL.
If Brent Grimes retires, then Johnson could come in and immediately plug the hole left behind. If he doesn’t, then Grimes and Johnson would be the best cornerback duo in the NFC South, with Vernon Hargreaves moving inside permanently as arguably the divisions best nickel corner.