The Los Angeles Rams have managed to make some noise in this year’s extremely active free agency period. With the majority of the most highly-sought after free agents already scooped up by their perspective teams, the Rams still had some holes to fill on their roster.
After trading away defensive end William Hayes, Los Angeles almost immediately found his replacement in veteran outside linebacker Connor Barwin. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the two sides agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $6.5 million:
The #Rams agreed to terms with pass-rusher Connor Barwin, giving him a 1-year deal worth a max of $6.5M, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2017
Much like the other defensive free agents brought in this year, Barwin is a former protege under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, whose skill set is finely tuned to play in a 3-4 defense. As a matter of fact, the two former Houston Texans had a nice little reunion at Rams headquarters following Barwin’s signing:
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) March 17, 2017
Barwin was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2014 after an impressive 14.5 sack season and is as consistent and durable as they come. Since entering the league in 2009, he has recorded over 50 sacks, 40 pass deflections, and six forced fumbles. He has also managed to start and play in every single game since 2011. After he was released by Philadelphia, Barwin had narrowed his choices down to Los Angeles and Cincinnati, where he played college ball.
He now joins arguably the best defensive line in the league led by first-team All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and former Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn. Although Barwin’s signing seemingly locks up the front line of the defense, the Rams still have lingering questions in the secondary as well as the offensive side of the ball.