The Los Angeles Rams acquired defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. from the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday for a third-round draft pick in 2019 and a fifth-round selection in 2020.
He will become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Fowler joins a loaded Rams defensive line rotation that already includes Aaron Donald, who leads the NFL with 10 sacks, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers. All four players are former first-round picks. Fowler was taken with the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, Donald was picked 13th in 2014, Suh second in 2010 and Brockers 14th in 2012.
Fowler tweeted about the trade:
The 24-year-old Fowler has eight tackles and two sacks in seven games with the Jaguars (3-5) this season and has 14 sacks and 22 quarterback hits in 39 career games.
Fowler has had a long list of off-the-field issues. In 2016, he was captured on video apparently refereeing a fight between his girlfriend and the mother of his child. A few weeks later, he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of assault against a police officer and resisting arrest without violence; the charges were later dropped. He has been involved in several practice fights and served a one-week suspension in training camp for his latest practice fight, which involved defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. He also was suspended for the season opener as a result of pleading no contest to charges of battery, criminal mischief, and petit theft stemming from a July 2017 arrest in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. He also has been issued more than 10 traffic citations in a two-year period.
In May, the Jaguars declined to pick up Fowler’s fifth-year option. Fowler hasn’t had any off-the-field issues since his 2017 arrest and said in August that he knew that his long-term NFL future — and a potential big payday — depended equally on his playing well and avoiding off-the-field problems.
Fowler missed his rookie season with a torn ACL and had 8.0 sacks last season. He also had two in the Jaguars’ AFC Championship Game loss to New England in January.
The Rams have been in search of an edge rusher since trading outside linebacker Robert Quinn to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason and letting outside linebacker Connor Barwin depart in free agency.
Second-year pro Samson Ebukam has maintained a presence on the edge through eight games, but the role opposite Ebukam has been in flux.
The Rams moved former first-round pick Dominique Easley from the interior of the line to the edge before the season. But Easley was placed on injured reserve after undergoing the fourth knee procedure of his career after a Week 3 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Matt Longacre, who underwent season-ending back surgery last season, has started the past five games in Easley’s absence. Longacre has nine tackles but has not recorded a sack.
The Rams pursued several edge players in the draft this year, including John Franklin-Myers, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Trevon Young.
Young, a sixth-round pick from Louisville, has seen time in the rotation; however, he was inactive against the Green Bay Packers because of a back injury. Franklin-Myers has been used in specific packages, and Okoronkwo, a fifth-round pick from Oklahoma, was placed on the physically unable to perform list after he underwent offseason foot surgery. The Rams must decide to activate Okoronkwo or place him on injured reserve by the start of Week 10.
Also Tuesday, the Rams waived offensive guard Jamon Brown. Brown was the lone veteran reserve on the offensive line. The only backups currently available are rookie Joseph Noteboom and rookie Brian Allen.
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco and Lindsey Thiry contributed to this report.
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