EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The offseason is here for the Los Angeles Rams and now that we know where they'll be playing their home games for the long term, things have settled down enough to spend our weekends answering a few of your Twitter questions.
As always, you can find me on Twitter @nwagoner and fire away with any Rams-related questions you might have. Please use hashtag #RamsMail so I can see them.
On to your questions.
@nwagoner it seems to me Rams have enough cap space to resign most of their ufas. Which ones will they really target?— David Carpenter (@carpy45) February 18, 2016
@nwagoner: It's a good question and you're right, the Rams will have more than enough salary cap space to keep most of the free agents they want to keep especially after Friday's flurry of moves. However, it's important to note that a lot of teams are going to be flush with cap space so it's fair to expect some players to get more than you might think or more than the Rams would be comfortable paying. I particularly could see that happening in the case of one of their cornerbacks. Still, if you're looking at the Rams' top priorities, the first five players I think they want to bring back are (in no particular order) Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, Mark Barron, Rodney McLeod and William Hayes. I think it's realistic that Eugene Sims also could return. Also, that isn't to say the Rams won't attempt to retain guys such as Cory Harkey, Brian Quick, Greg Zuerlein and Tim Barnes, just that the initial five are probably the highest priority. That also doesn't account for restricted free agents. The Rams have more say in those matters, as I expect them to make sure they keep quarterback Case Keenum, for example.
@nwagoner: Obviously, Nick Fairley is a prominent name I didn't mention above, but I did so because I thought this was a question worth addressing separately. Fairley is an interesting case. He signed a one-year "prove it" deal with the Rams last year in hopes that it would lead to a lot of production and a big money, long-term deal this year. What followed was a season in which Fairley was much better than the numbers would indicate based on his consistent disruption in the middle of the defensive line. That disruption didn't lead to a lot statistically but, for what it's worth, he earned high marks from grading services such as Pro Football Focus. Perhaps just as important, Fairley proved that he had the discipline to get in good shape and stay that way throughout the season. Answering those questions will help his cause on the open market as well. So while I think the Rams would love to bring Fairley back and would do so if the price is right, I also think it's probably unlikely that they can unless his market is surprisingly weak. It's a good year in the draft for defensive tackle, so perhaps teams will wait, but Fairley should draw a good amount of interest. Remember, the Rams also will have to sign Michael Brockers to a long-term contract soon. So while I think the Rams would love to bring Fairley back as part of their rotation, chances are he'll get a more lucrative opportunity elsewhere.