EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The free-agent market is scheduled to open March 9 and teams may begin negotiations with those poised to hit the market beginning March 7. We'll count down to that with a position-by-position look at what the Los Angeles Rams have in place, who is set to hit the market, what they might need and who might fit the bill.
Position: Running back
Pending free agents: Benny Cunningham (restricted), Cory Harkey
What's needed: Put simply, not much. Gurley is the reigning offensive rookie of the year despite starting only 12 games and he'll be another year removed from his ACL injury, which means he should only be better and more involved in year two. Keeping Cunningham on a restricted free-agent tender is likely as the Rams view him as their most dependable third-down back and best option to pick up the blitz. Cunningham also gives the Rams value on special teams, which makes keeping him all the more important. Mason's play tailed off in 2015 and he was deactivated for a game for missing a team bus. He needs to have a good offseason to keep his spot, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Rams were willing to listen if a team wanted to offer something for him. Harkey is a tight end/fullback hybrid who the team loves but who also saw his playing time dwindle in 2015. Harkey is a solid piece but it's fair to wonder how large his role would be moving forward, especially if they wanted to take a longer look at a true fullback or even Laskey. Watts is coming back from a suspension and it remains to be seen when he'll be reinstated. If he does return, he's probably on his last strike. Brown is an interesting prospect who got some work at the end of the season and could figure into the plans moving forward. There are no obvious needs here unless another team comes calling for Cunningham.
Possible fits: Tampa Bay's Doug Martin is the biggest name on the market but the Rams clearly aren't going to be shopping for a high-priced feature back. Instead, anything the Rams might be seeking would be a potential replacement for Cunningham or Harkey if either signs elsewhere. There aren't many clear-cut improvements at those spots that will be available in free agency, though, which means if the Rams found themselves in either predicament, they could look to this year's draft class instead.