Rams News: Les Snead Discusses Possibility Of Franchise Tagging Cory Littleton Or Dante Fowler Jr.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have a busy offseason ahead of them if they hope to avoid too much roster turnover going into the 2020 season.

The Rams have a number of key players set to hit the free-agent market on both sides of the ball. At the top of their list of priorities are linebackers Cory Littleton and Dante Fowler Jr., who are each going to test the waters of free agency if a deal does not get done beforehand.

Rams general manager Les Snead will need to pull a few tricks out of his sleeve if he hopes to shore up enough cap space to pay them this offseason. Time is starting to run out for them to take precautionary measures.

Snead says he is going to explore all options on the table before opting to place a franchise tag on any player, via Stu Jackson of the team’s official website:

“We would always love to get things done before, try not to use the tag because that can become more of a short-term type decision, but it doesn’t mean that you do,” Snead said. “Technically, I think you try to work to the deadline to get something done with the players you want to get done, and then from there, as it gets closer, decide is it best to utilize that or not. I don’t think it would be, ‘alright, day one, we’re putting the tag on someone.’ This free agency, the puzzle is a little more complicated but definitely manageable. And then adding the fact that new coordinators are in, some tweaks to scheme, really taking our time to work through which positions and which players playing those positions are the most important to help us moving forward.”

Snead added that if all else fails, he will still have the franchise tag and the transition tag to work with:

“We have a franchise and a transition available right now, right,” Snead said during his podium session. “There hasn’t been a collective bargaining agreement so I think at that point we’re still going through a lot of things, trying to determine the best strategy to get as many of our good football players who’ve helped us win a lot of games over the last three years back. That’s always impossible but having those tools in the tool box definitely allows you to try to accomplish that.”

Snead’s comments indicate that he would ideally like to work on a long-term solution before it becomes more likely that the player becomes a one-year rental. Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not the new collective bargaining agreement would even present them with the opportunity to keep both. The question now remains on which player they will decide to place a tag on if they are forced to choose.

The last time that Snead had used franchise tag was on safety Lamarcus Joyner during the 2018 campaign. Not only did Joyner struggle to play up to the market value for a safety at the time, the Rams ultimately opted to let him walk in free agency the following offseason.

Both players are set to garner plenty of interest on the market from teams in desperate need of some quality pieces for their linebacker corps. Littleton has established himself as perhaps the best player at his position in free agency and reports have surfaced that the Las Vegas Raiders are already looking to make a run at him. Meanwhile, Fowler is coming off a career-year with the Rams and will be able to command a high price tag as a premium pass-rusher.