The Los Angeles Rams decided to place an original round tender on Malcolm Brown earlier this offseason. That means that although he is a restricted free agent, any team could send an offer sheet for him, with the Rams being able to match it.
Since Brown was undrafted, if he was signed by another team, the Rams wouldn’t receive a draft pick in return.
The Detroit Lions recently placed an offer sheet for Brown’s services. This forced the Rams to make a decision to match the offer from the Lions or let him walk. It was an easy decision considering the cost it was going to take to retain the backup running back.
The Lions’ offer was worth $3.25 million over the course of two years. Brown was set to make around $2 million in 2019, but with the Lions offer, he’d make less than that.
By matching the Lions’ offer, the Rams could have Brown back at a discounted price. It was an easy decision to make. Los Angeles decided to match the offer on Friday.
The Rams’ backup running back showed how excited he was to be back in a subtle way by posting a video of himself on Twitter.
— Malcolm Brown (@MallyCat_28) March 22, 2019
So what does bringing back Brown mean for the Rams heading into 2019? First, it means that the Rams are interested in Brown remaining the backup to Todd Gurley.
Brown served as Gurley’s backup until he suffered an injury that ended his season prematurely. It seems he is ready to be back and healthy to begin the 2019 season.
This is good news for Rams fans, since the news of limiting Gurley’s workload in the future means that the backup running back will get more run. Fortunately, Brown showed he is fully capable of being a great backup running back.
Although he was limited in his opportunities, Brown made the most of his playing time. He was one of the highest-ranked players on the Rams’ offense according to Pro Football Focus.
Malcolm Brown Grades in 2018 on 125 snaps (compared to all HBs):
– Offense: 83.3 (9th)
– Pass Block: 90.0 (1st)
– Run: 76.5 (27th)
– Run Block: 72.9 (5th)
– Fumble: 82.2 (T-32nd)
– Receiving: 78.3 (T-13th) https://t.co/9s7UE1v8jO
— PFF LA Rams (@PFF_Rams) March 22, 2019
After Brown went down with an injury, Los Angeles turned to C.J. Anderson to handle the duties behind Gurley.
Anderson was vital to the Rams’ success late in the season and the playoffs. He was playing tons of snaps due to Gurley’s lingering knee problems, which arose earlier in the regular season.
However, with Brown returning in 2019, the chances of Anderson returning to the Rams in 2019 become murkier. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility, but it seems highly unlikely at the moment.
The Rams are also tight on available cap space, so bringing back Brown on a cheap deal made more sense. He is also younger than Anderson. John Kelly—whom the Rams drafted in 2018—is also ready to get his chance for more work.
Los Angeles did lose Rodger Saffold in free agency, which hurts the offensive line. At least the Rams have young guys who are ready to step up and fill his spot at left guard.
The move to retain Brown capped a seemingly successful offseason for Sean McVay and the Rams. In free agency, the Rams brought in Eric Weddle, Blake Bortles, and Clay Matthews, and kept Dante Fowler.
Bringing back Brown was the right decision for the Rams, especially considering the circumstances. For Los Angeles fans, it should be all smiles heading forward, just as Brown is smiling after staying in California.