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The Sports Report: Rams are already making a free-agent splash

The Sports Report: Rams are already making a free-agent splash
Dante Fowler (Gregory Payan / Associated Press)

Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Monday edition of the Los Angeles Times daily sports newsletter. My name is Houston Mitchell and I’m your host for the festivities. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.

Let’s get to it.

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Rams

Late Sunday, the Rams agreed to terms on a one-year deal with edge rusher Dante Fowler. This come on the heels of signing Eric Weddle last week.

The offseason aggressiveness continues what is becoming a trend under general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay during the run-up to free agency, which begins with the NFL’s “legal tampering” period on Monday and officially opens Wednesday.

In 2018, the Rams traded for cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib before the market opened. Both helped the Rams reach the Super Bowl last season.

So did Fowler.

The No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft was dynamic and productive after he was acquired in a trade-deadline deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fowler, 24, had two sacks and made several game-turning plays. His hit on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the NFC championship game helped force an interception that led to the game-winning field goal.

Others the Rams could have interest in this offseason are listed below. I provide the names, click here to read Gary Klein’s analysis.

Defensive linemen

Malik Jackson

Inside linebackers

Jordan Hicks

C.J. Mosley

Anthony Barr

Offensive linemen

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Matt Paradis

Mitch Morse

Chargers

The Chargers have $26.5 million in cap room and will try to upgrade their defense.

According to Jeff Miller, A year ago, the Chargers’ most notable additions in free agency included center Mike Pouncey and tight end Virgil Green, both of whom were key contributors on offense.

They also signed kicker Caleb Sturgis, who didn’t work out quite as well, although his struggles did lead to the team finding Michael Badgley.

This time around, defense is the more obvious need as six of the Chargers’ pending unrestricted free agents played roles last season in the front seven.

And that’s not counting Adrian Phillips, a former undrafted free agent who emerged as a dependable defensive back, earning All-Pro special teams honors.

“We would definitely miss him, if it doesn’t work out,” coach Anthony Lynn said of Phillips. “His versatility, his ability to help people around him and understand the defense is huge for us.

“It’s the core players like him that I thought helped us so much. My core guys like A.P., I mean, that’s maybe where we had our edge. Players like that are very important.”

Tennis

Serena Williams had to drop out of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at Indian Wells with what the WTA tour called a “viral illness.”

Williams won the first three games of her third-round match against Spain’s Garbine Murguruza and then losing the next seven before having to retire from the match.

Williams said that “Before the match, I did not feel great, and then it just got worse with every second; extreme dizziness and extreme fatigue. By the score, it might have looked like I started well, but I was not feeling well physically. I will focus on getting better and start preparing for Miami [the next tour stop].”

Odds and Ends

Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler are aiming to be ready for Dodgers opening day…. Lakers' trash-talking rookie Moe Wagner earns rave reviews after exciting first start…. Angels prospect Jo Adell to be sidelined 10 to 12 weeks because of leg injuries…. Fox Sports 1 has a fond attachment to the Big East and college basketball…. Katelyn Ohashi and Kyla Ross thrill home crowd in UCLA gymnastics' win over Stanford…. Kirk Triplett wins Hoag Classic at Newport Beach with eagle in playoff…. High school basketball season closes much like it did last season, with plenty of drama…. LAFC routs Portland Timbers 4-1 for second win in a row to open MLS season…. Clippers' Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams are doing something no other NBA duo has done…. The Kings defeated the Ducks, 3-2.

Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)

Boston at Clippers, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570

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Dodgers vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m., AM 570

Angels vs. Texas, 1 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1971: NHL player Martin Rucinsky

Died on this date

1987: College football coach Woody Hayes, 74

1993: Pro wrestler Dino Bravo, 44

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.

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