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Sean McVay, Rams

NFL

Los Angeles Rams: 3 early free agency targets for the offseason

The Los Angeles Rams were one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams this season, as they won just nine games and missed the playoffs a year after going 13-3 and making it all the way to the Super Bowl.

There were numerous reasons for the Rams’ decline in 2019, whether it was the health of Todd Gurley or a deteriorating offensive line.

Still, there is enough talent on this ballclub for it to bounce back in 2020.

But, of course, Los Angeles needs to make the right moves in free agency for that to happen.

Here are three free agents the Rams should already be targeting:

3. Anthony Castonzo, Offensive Tackle

With Andrew Whitworth turning 38 years old and getting set to hit free agency after undergoing leg surgery, Los Angeles needs a replacement at left tackle immediately.

The Rams can always opt to bring Whitworth back, but at this stage, I’m not sure of it’s worth it.

With Antony Castonzo likely representing the best offensive lineman on the market, LA could very well move in that direction.

Castonzo has spent the first nine years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, and while he has never made a Pro Bowl, he has been very solid and has been one of the NFL’s most underrated tackles throughout his tenure.

He also brings durability to the table, as he has played full 16-game campaigns in six of his nine seasons and has never really had any major injuries.

2. Dante Fowler, Linebacker

The Rams have a couple of their own linebackers hitting free agency this offseason, as Dante Fowler and Cory Littleton are both preparing for hefty pay days.

With limited cap room, Los Angeles may only be able to keep one (or neither), and the guy that seems to be the more valuable of the two is Fowler.

Fowler is coming off of a breakout 2019 campaign in which he racked up 58 tackles and 11.5 sacks, and at 25 years old, he is only going to get better.

Yes, he will be very expensive, but with the Rams’ defense not being great as it is, Les Snead and the front office cannot afford to let their premier pass rusher walk.

1. Brandon Scherff, Offensive Guard

In terms of pure ability, Brandon Scherff is probably the best offensive lineman on the open market, but due to his injury history, I have shied away from naming him as a potential candidate for a whole lot of teams in need of offensive line help.

The Rams are not one of those teams.

Los Angeles is in win-now mode, and it needs to improve its offensive line as soon as possible. Scherff is a high-risk, high-reward type of guy, but if he stays healthy, he could be a knockout signing for a Rams club that saw its offensive line decline significantly in 2019.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Scherff has played in just 19 games for the Washington Redskins over the last two seasons, but on the bright side, he missed just two contests over his first three years between 2015 and 2017.

If anyone can afford to take this risk, it’s the Rams, but whether or not they can afford Scherff to begin with remains to be seen.