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NFC West free agency review, Week 1: LA Rams gutted

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for a tracker of a different sort as we take a look around the NFC West. Signings are happening at a furious rate right now and are easy to find; this piece is more interested in who’s departed the NFL’s most competitive conference.

Starting with the home team, the Seattle Seahawks have seen the fewest amount of players to other teams, and none to rivals. Retaining Chris Carson also answers one of the three biggest question marks of the offseason, with KJ Wright the biggest story now remaining.

Carlos Hyde, David Moore, and Jacob Hollister were all (intended to be) third on the depth chart at their positions for Seattle, though Hyde played as RB2 for the injured Rashaad Penny. Hollister was something similar as Greg Olsen nearly vanished by the end of the year.

Shaquill Griffin is set to be replaced by a guy who was unable to keep a starting job last season, so thus far cornerback has the greatest potential impact.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have been very interesting this March. JJ Watt and AJ Green come in as JR Sweezy and Johnathan Joseph depart, ensuring the proper number of J names remain on the team. However the two biggest signings have significant age or health concerns (both), and they’ve lost some big pieces.

Six players have already been picked up by other teams, most notably Haason Reddick and Patrick Peterson. Interestingly they both signed only one-year deals, but it’s a significant change to the Cardinals secondary. Peterson has been one of the catalysts in the backfield for 10 years, and hasn’t had one season without an interception.

Kenyan Drake is also very significant, as he was only about 10-12 carries short of a 1,000 yard season. He’s been their leading rusher in consecutive seasons, and yes that includes rushing farther than Kyler Murray, which I deem a significant achievement.

San Francisco 49ers

Look I don’t know, football is weird, but there’s a potential for Seattle to have three former Niners starting this season, alongside casual “what if’s” about Richard Sherman returning. It’s unusual.

While San Francisco has only sent four players to other teams yet, two of them are here now. Kerry Hyder departs (and arrives) as the team’s leading sack-getter last year.

In a weird sense free agency turnover means next to nothing for the Niners because the intended roster didn’t play together at any point in 2019. Injuries turned the entire team over what felt like three distinct times.

Still, there’s potential for two CBs, two WRs, and two RBs to go elsewhere, and eventually they’ll want some skill player besides George Kittle to still be around. The biggest additions have come on the offensive line, but massively protecting *checks he’s still there* Jimmy Garoppolo throwing to Kittle and Deebo Samuel alone won’t be enough.

Los Angeles Rams

You love to see it.

Coaches, quarterback, and some defensive end I keep reading as Megan Fox have been departing the Rams en masse. The Los Angeles Lions of Detroit have picked up a couple of their bigger pieces, but there’s tons of contributors on this list. Seattle snatching Gerald Everett is huge if for no other reason than they don’t have to play against him, but I honestly expect he’ll be a fantastic fit this year.

And to date the Rams have done the masterful free agent dance on their way to signing.....Leonard Floyd (again) and DeSean Jackson. They’ve done some other re-signings as well, but really not much.

This appears to be the terrible Jared Goff and Todd Gurley contracts finally caught up, while Los Angeles essentially sat out the first wave of free agency.

Lots of time left, but it’s been a fantastic start to the offseason for the Seahawks, and they’re at least keeping up with their rivals right now.