Rams receive high free agency grade thanks to Ndamukong Suh signing, trades

Ndamukong Suh was part of a sizable upgrade of the Rams' defense. Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

A breakdown of the initial wave of free agency for the Los Angeles Rams:

Grade: B+. No team has made moves like the Rams this offseason, through free agency and via trade. They acquired a couple of shutdown corners before the start of the new league year, then signed one of the game's best interior defenders while the owners meetings were ongoing. They're taking character risks with all three acquisitions, but they did so at the expense of building what might be the NFL's best defense. The Rams also were able to re-sign a trio of important players, though holes do remain.

Most significant signing: DT Ndamukong Suh. The Rams signed Suh to a one-year, $14 million contract a couple of weeks after he was released by the Miami Dolphins. He isn't a perfect fit, considering he has never played in a 3-4 defense and will probably spend a lot of time at nose tackle. But his pairing with Aaron Donald, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, gives the Rams what might be the best duo of defensive tackles in league history. Together -- and along with another standout interior defender in Michael Brockers -- they'll bring relentless pressure, which should make what is already a standout secondary even more dangerous.

Most significant loss: WR Sammy Watkins. The Rams basically lost Watkins when they decided to use their franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner, sending Watkins into a robust free-agent market that yielded a lucrative contract from the Kansas City Chiefs. Watkins' 593 receiving yards last season doesn't jump off the page, but the Rams -- coach Sean McVay, in particular -- believe his vertical presence and playmaking ability were crucial in freeing up Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and even Todd Gurley in the passing game. The Rams are now scrambling for ways to replace Watkins. They even agreed to bring back Tavon Austin, long considered a cap casualty.

Player they should have signed: OLB Trent Murphy. He was a potential buy-low candidate who generated nine sacks in 2016 while playing for a Washington Redskins defense that was overseen by current Rams linebackers coach Joe Barry. Murphy could have replaced Robert Quinn, who was sent to the Dolphins five days before inside linebacker Alec Ogletree was dealt to the New York Giants -- two moves that paved the way for the Rams' acquisitions of cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Murphy wasn't meant to be, however. He signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Buffalo Bills, a rich sum for someone who missed the entire 2017 season.

Additions: Suh; Talib; Peters; Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB (re-sign); John Sullivan, C (re-sign); Dominique Easley, DE (re-sign); Ramik Wilson, ILB; Sam Shields, CB.

Subtractions: Watkins; Quinn; Ogletree; Trumaine Johnson, CB; Cody Davis, S; Derek Carrier, TE; Tyrunn Walker, DT; Lance Dunbar, RB.

What's next: It's painfully obvious that the Rams still need to address the linebacker position. They might not have the cap space to do so on the free-agent market, but they can nonetheless piece it together. Their two inside linebacker spots are set, with Mark Barron at one and either Wilson or Cory Littleton at the other. If they bring Connor Barwin back at a reasonable cost, he can combine with young Samson Ebukam to lock down one of the outside linebacker spots. That leaves the other side. Matt Longacre proved to be a capable backup to Quinn last season, but the Rams need more here. Their hope, it seems, would be to solve this with their first-round pick.