The offseason is officially underway, which has put the free agency period first on the docket as one of the primary ways that a team can make improvements to their roster ahead of the 2017 season.
With that in mind, Pro Football Focus has constructed a list of the top players that will available in the free agent market next month. These rankings include a couple of players from the Los Angeles Rams in cornerback Trumaine Johnson and wide receiver Kenny Britt.
Johnson earned the higher ranking between the two placing 24th among pending free agents, which made him the sixth-highest among players in the secondary. This comes after a productive 2016 campaign that saw him finish with 57 total tackles, 11 pass deflection, and one interception in 14 games played.
The 28-year-old had gotten off to a strong start to the year being fourth on the team with 25 tackles and lead the league with nine pass deflections. However, an ankle injury forced him to miss two games that led to his effectiveness tailing off for the remainder of the season upon his return to the field. He had graded out as the 27th overall player at his position (81.0), 26th in pass coverage (81.6), and 98th against the run (39.2).
Johnson had entered the year coming off a breakout individual campaign where he was tied for third in the NFL with seven interceptions. This helped play a major part in him receiving the franchise tag worth $13.9 million for the 2016 season. However, Pro Football Focus has pointed out that he has allowed a 60 percent completion rate against him in coverage over the last two seasons, which this alone has pushed down the perception that he can be considered a No.1 cornerback on a defense.
That said, Johnson will likely draw much attention on the free agent market because of the consistent need across the league to get strong effective play in the secondary. This could drive up the price to out of the range for Los Angeles to feel comfortable in bringing him back on a lucrative multi-year deal. General manager Les Snead had stated last month that re-signing Johnson will be a "big decision" for the Rams in the coming weeks.
As for Britt, he placed as being the 33rd best player that will be available in the free agent market. He is coming off his best individual season posting career highs with 68 catches and 1,002 receiving yards, which were both also team highs in 2016. Britt was also the first Rams' receiver to top 1,000 receiving yards since Torry Holt did so in the 2007 season.
He averaged 14.7 yards per catch, which was 11th best in the NFC and 18th in the NFL. Additionally, Britt was also just one of 12 receivers to record at least 11 receptions for 25 yards in the 2016 season joining the likes of Indianapolis Colts' T.Y Hilton, Oakland Raiders' Amari Cooper, New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr., and Pittsburgh Steelers' Antonio Brown. Since joining the Rams in 2014, he is tied for eighth-best yards per catch (16.0) in the NFL over the last three seasons.
Britt was able to string together these impressive numbers despite getting less than stellar play from the quarterback position from both Case Keenum and Jared Goff . This high level of production could make way for him to cash in the free agent market. In line with that premise, there are already reports that indicate that the Rams may be unwilling to pay a significant amount to retain his services.
The decision to let Britt walk could shift the team's attention elsewhere in free agency to find viable options to help improve the receiving corp heading into next season.