Past 1,000-yard backs named Le’Veon Bell, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy and former Ram Todd Gurley have already been mentioned. New England Patriot Sony Michel is another one who has been named as a potential answer to the Rams’ sudden running game dilemma.
And on Tuesday, one Denver Broncos insider from KOA News Radio Colorado has mentioned this name as a possibility: Royce Freeman.
Who is Royce Freeman?
Freeman is a 25-year-old who is still under contract by the Broncos. According to spotrac, he holds a base salary of $970,000 for 2021 and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
The former Oregon Duck appears to continue to be buried in the Broncos’ depth chart, though.
After starting in eight games during his rookie season in 2018, Freeman has had a hard time fighting his way into the two-deep in Denver. His yardage numbers has decreased the last two seasons, including netting just 170 yards last season. In 46 games, Freeman has 1,187 yards total and eight touchdowns.
Speculation of Freeman being the odd man out in the Mile High city began when the team drafted Javonte Williams out of North Carolina in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Plus the team signed former Minnesota Viking Mike Boone during the offseason, who received a strong vote of confidence already from Broncos general manager George Paton.
Would Freeman Be a Good Fit in L.A?
Freeman clearly looks like someone who could use a fresh start elsewhere. After all, as mentioned above, his numbers have taken a dive and the franchise tried bolstering its ground game through a high-profile rookie and added another 25-year-old back via free agency. Melvin Gordon is also on the Broncos’ roster and is projected to be the third wheel in that backfield.
There are reasons why Freeman could work for the Rams from a size and personal history standpoint.
For starters, Freeman is 6-feet, 238-pounds, so he gives the Rams an inside blast/dive option and has the frame to take on interior linemen and inside linebackers. In the past, he has shown a feistiness on his runs, especially in the red zone.
Then, there was this 50-yard burst where he follows his fullback paving the way.
And, the last time he was in the Pacific time zone, he put together a decorated collegiate career at longtime running back factory Oregon.
On that Pac-12 note, the Rams did have brief success from a conference star via the Broncos before: C.J. Anderson, who starred at Cal and helped lift the Rams to the 2019 NFC title.
Freeman would come in at cheap value too. Should the Rams look into a trade attempt, the franchise won’t have to surrender a high draft pick to nab him. However, there are downsides to Freeman possibly going to the Rams.
For one, Rams head coach Sean McVay told ESPN 710 AM on Tuesday that he wants to give the current Ram RB’s a chance. Next, current free agent McCoy told USA Today’s Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire on Wednesday that Rams receiver and former Philadelphia Eagles teammate DeSean Jackson has called him twice about the Rams. Then, on Thursday morning, Rams legend Eric Dickerson told TMZ that the team should look into possibly bringing back another ex-Rams star in Todd Gurley.
Plus, with the way the offense is structured, the Rams would likely want someone to line up at the slot and catch out of the backfield – roles Akers was anticipated to have before his injury.
Either way, it looks like Freeman leaving Denver will come as no surprise. And now, the Rams have been mentioned as a potential suitor.