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3 free agents Rams must target after 2024 NFL Draft

The Los Angeles Rams boast a rich history of NFL success, highlighted by their Super Bowl LVI victory. Yet, sustaining such high levels of performance demands ongoing adaptation and enhancement. Now that the 2024 NFL Draft has concluded, the Rams’ attention turns to the free agent market. Here, they can find crucial players to help them ascend back to the league’s summit. To strengthen their roster for the upcoming season, the Rams should focus on signing three key free agents: offensive tackles David Bakhtiari and Charles Leno Jr., and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.

Reflecting on the 2023 Season

This past season, the Los Angeles Rams became one of the NFL’s most surprising success stories. After a major offseason overhaul, many expected the Rams to undergo a transitional phase. Defying these expectations, the team leaned on its seasoned leaders and received significant contributions from some unexpected rookies, securing a playoff berth.

Just a year removed from a disappointing five-win season, Los Angeles achieved 10 victories in 2023. Quarterback Matthew Stafford rediscovered his form, head coach Sean McVay proved his decision to return was the right one, and the Rams found themselves in the playoffs. However, their postseason run was cut short by a narrow 24-23 defeat to the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card Game.

Rams' Sean McVay in front looking serious.  Rams' Matthew Stafford throwing a football in background.

Key veterans like Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp were instrumental to the team’s success. Additionally, newcomers such as rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua and defensive lineman Kobie Turner made substantial impacts. Rather than being a rebuilding year, 2023 might be remembered as the beginning of a promising new era. With free agency and the draft behind them, McVay and general manager Les Snead are now focused on further strengthening the squad for 2024.

Here we’ll look at the three free agent players whom the Los Angeles Rams must target after the 2024 NFL Draft.

David Bakhtiari

First and foremost, the Rams should prioritize signing offensive tackle David Bakhtiari. The Green Bay Packers’ veteran left tackle is one of the premier protectors in the NFL. He is renowned for his exceptional pass-blocking skills and leadership qualities. Bakhtiari’s addition to the Rams’ offensive line would provide immediate stability and security for quarterback Matthew Stafford. With Bakhtiari anchoring the left side, the Rams can significantly reduce sacks and pressures. This would give Stafford more time to connect with his dynamic receiving corps. Additionally, Bakhtiari’s experience and mentorship would be invaluable for the younger linemen on the roster. This would foster a more cohesive and effective unit.

After 11 seasons with the Packers, Bakhtiari is now free to sign with any NFL team. Since a serious knee injury in 2020, Bakhtiari has played sparingly and is not expected to be fully healthy until at least before training camp. However, when he is on the field, he still performs at a high level. He has expressed a willingness to continue playing, making him an intriguing option for the 32-year-old former All-Pro offensive lineman.

Charles Leno Jr.

Another critical addition to the Rams’ offensive line would be Charles Leno Jr. The former Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders tackle has consistently been one of the most reliable and durable players at his position. Leno’s ability to play both left and right tackle provides the Rams with valuable flexibility. This would enable them to address multiple needs on their offensive line. His adeptness in both run-blocking and pass-protection makes him a perfect fit for the Rams’ balanced offensive scheme. By securing Leno’s services, the Rams can fortify their offensive line depth and ensure they have a dependent starter who can step in and perform at a high level. Leno started 47 games for Washington over the past three years after joining the team from Chicago. He played his first seven NFL seasons with the Bears, who released him in 2011.

Hunter Renfrow

Kansas City Chiefs safety Mike Edwards (21) tackles Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) during the third quarter at Allegiant Stadium.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

After trading away wide receiver Ben Skowronek, the Rams may need to upgrade their receiver position. The team still has Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp on the roster, but beyond them, they are relatively thin at the position. Snead has never been shy about making bold moves during his tenure, so nothing is out of the realm of possibility. If the Rams are looking to upgrade the receiver position, considering former Las Vegas Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow could be a smart option.

Yes, his production hasn’t been stellar over the past year or two. However, his first few seasons were impressive. In 2021, Renfrow posted 103 catches for 1,038 yards and 9 touchdowns. This was a standout year for the Raiders, and adding Renfrow to the mix with the Rams could be highly beneficial.

Looking Ahead

In conclusion, the Los Angeles Rams are at a crucial juncture. The 2023 season highlighted both their potential and areas needing improvement. They should target and sign key free agents like David Bakhtiari, Charles Leno Jr., and Hunter Renfrow. In doing so, the Rams can address their most pressing needs and position themselves for a return to championship contention. These players bring the skills, experience, and leadership required to elevate the team and ensure that the Rams are not only competitive but formidable in the seasons to come. As the NFL landscape continues to evolve, these strategic additions could be the difference-makers that lead the Rams back to the Super Bowl stage.