While other professional sports leagues have temporarily suspended operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NFL continues being all business as usual.
The new league year will commence on Wednesday as originally scheduled, ensuring that the free agency frenzy kicks off this week as well.
The legal tampering period began on Monday in which teams can contact unrestricted free agents. For the Los Angeles Rams, who have limited cap space to work with this offseason, their focus will presumably be on re-signing some of their key contributors.
According to Michael Silver of the NFL Network, the Rams are attempting to bring back four of their own free agents in Dante Fowler Jr., Andrew Whitworth, Michael Brockers and Austin Blythe:
Meanwhile, the Rams are working to re-sign four of their impending free agents: OT Andrew Whitworth, C Austin Blythe, DL Michael Brockers and pass rusher Dante Fowler
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) March 16, 2020
Acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars in October 2018, Fowler is coming off a career season with the Rams in which he recorded 11.5 sacks across 16 games.
L.A. opted not to use the franchise or transition tag on Fowler — or any player for that matter — guaranteeing that he will hit the open market in two days if an extension cannot be reached.
As for Whitworth, he has made it known that his desire is returning to the Rams for another season. The franchise is reportedly confident in their chances of re-signing the veteran, who helped anchor the left side of the offensive line last season.
Brockers, who is the Rams’ longest-tenured player, notched 63 combined tackles and three sacks in 16 games last season. Earlier this offseason, he posted a heartfelt tribute to the organization, which prompted speculation he would sign elsewhere in free agency.
Blythe started in 15 games for the Rams last season, beginning the year at right guard before transitioning to center after Brian Allen was placed on injured reserve.
Another key free agent the Rams could look to re-sign is Cory Littleton. He has emerged as one of the best coverage middle linebackers in all of football and could command a lucrative contract elsewhere, with the Las Vegas Raiders and Green Bay Packers reportedly showing interest.