It’s not a real surprise that the Los Angeles Rams were going to make some tough sacrifices in order to secure most of the big-name free agents that need new deals like Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson and Rodney McLeod. That meant shedding salary of older or ineffective players. Among the unfortunate members to get shown the door was defensive end Chris Long, one of their most dependable defensive lineman the past few years.
With his contract becoming bloated ($14.25 million cap hit) and his production continuing to dip, it seemed like the most logical move to make. At age 30 he’s not over the hill just yet, so there stands a good chance that some teams will give him a chance in hopes he can regain the former that helped him produced over 20 sacks in a two-season span a few years ago.
Here are the ones that bear watching over the next month or so.
Greg Hardy may hit the market himself after one year with the Dallas Cowboys. Now news came down that promising 2nd round pick Randy Gregory will be suspended the first four games of the season. That could put a significant dent in the teams’ pass rush. They don’t have a ton of cap space, so a potential bargain like Long would be right up their alley.
Collecting older pass rushers seemed to work well for the Carolina Panthers last season, allowing them to focus their money elsewhere. Perhaps they feel this method can continue. They’d be a fine attraction for Long, who is getting along in years and never played in a single playoff game. He’s a great fit for their 4-3 scheme and provide them instant depth with Jared Allen gone and Charles Johnson likely to follow.
New York Giants
They didn’t have much of a pass rush to begin with and now there are rumors the New York Giants may move on from Jason Pierre-Paul. This reinforces their need to add as many quality defensive linemen as they can get their hands on. Cap space won’t be an issue as they have plenty to spend. It’s just a matter of selling the organization to Long, which shouldn’t be that hard.