The moves in NFL free agency have come fast and furious, but so far, the Seahawks NFC West rival Rams have basically sat this one out.
We thought the Seahawks took their time getting to work in the free agent market. Imagine how the fans of the Rams feel about all the moves they’ve made to defend their NFC West championship. Well, it’s pretty easy to imagine, since they’ve only made one move so far.
That’s right. So far the defending NFC West Rams have just signed one solitary free agent. Compared to the 2018 market, when Los Angeles signed six free agents, you have to wonder if head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead took the week off. Of course, we know they didn’t, because they did sign that one guy.
That one guy is a pretty good player, by the way. Eric Weddle at one time was one of the league’s very best free safeties for years when he played for the Chargers. He spent the last three seasons in Baltimore. There’s no disputing that the Ravens made a nice upgrade when they signed one of the best Seahawks ever in Earl Thomas. Regardless, the Rams still got an excellent player in Weddle.
Weddle will make the NFC West tougher
Weddle doesn’t have to replace Thomas, after all. He’s stepping in for Lamarcus Joyner. According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas would have ranked second among all safeties last season with more appearances (behind Eddie Jackson of the Bears). Weddle ranked tenth, while Joyner ranked 28th. I don’t always agree with PFF’s rankings, but these seem to be spot on.
While Weddle is an upgrade for the Rams, last season was far from his best, despite making the Pro Bowl for the sixth time. For only the second time in his 12-year career, he didn’t manage a single interception. He also only had three pass defenses. Then again, he’s been far more consistent than Joyner who really had just one good year.
If I may remind you of the superior play of Earl Thomas III, he had three picks and defended five passes in just four games last year. As I said earlier, Weddle is good, but it’s not as if Thomas stayed in the NFC West to torment us. It’ll be tougher to pick on the Rams secondary, but it won’t be impossible.
As for the talent they lost, the Rams let Joyner go to the Raiders for the ridiculous sum of $42 million total. The Rams will pay Weddle about half that. That is not good news for the rest of the NFC West, and certainly not for the Seahawks. That’s an extra $5 million Los Angeles can spend on another free agent, whenever they get around to making their second deal.
While the loss of Joyner is an actual improvement, the Rams other loss will hurt considerably more. Guard Rodger Saffold left for the greener pastures of the Tennessee Titans. Pro Football Focus rated him as the ninth-best guard in the league, and the best in the NFC West. He helped open a lot of holes for Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson. The Rams will be hard-pressed to find an equitable replacement for him. Not that I’m shedding any tears about that.
Speaking of C.J. Anderson, he’s one of the players that the Rams are keeping a close eye on. He played a major role for the team when Gurley had whatever his mysterious problem was. It’s only because of Gurley’s health that he’s important to the Rams, though. The player Snead is losing sleep over has to be defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Suh didn’t exactly set the world on fire in Los Angeles, but he was a good playmate for holy terror Aaron Donald. As a part-time fan of the Miami Dolphins, I can attest that Suh hasn’t been nearly as good as his reputation since he left the Lions after 2014. Since then, his season high in sacks is six. He had just 4.5 sacks last year for the Rams, and only had four tackles for a loss. As D.J. Fluker said to the delight of the 12s, he was not intimidated by their line. Still, Suh is still good, and far better than anyone the Rams have in line to take his place.
The Rams have made the fewest moves by far of any of the Seahawks NFC West rivals. That’s a partly a result of winning the division, but mainly a result of having less than $9 million in cap space now. Like many of us these days, they’re kind of living paycheck to paycheck this offseason. As 12s, we can be happy about that.