Rams make qualifying offer to QB Keenum, re-sign C Barnes

LOS ANGELES (AP) Although the Los Angeles Rams lost two starters in their defensive secondary on the first day of free agency, they made moves to keep their starting quarterback and center.

The Rams extended a qualifying offer Wednesday to quarterback Case Keenum, a restricted free agent. They also re-signed center Tim Barnes to a two-year deal.

Los Angeles tendered Keenum at the first-round level, which means he would make $3.635 million next season if he accepts the offer.

The Rams would get a first-round pick if he signs elsewhere and Los Angeles declines to match the deal, but Keenum already expressed his excitement last week about returning to the Rams after starting the final five games of last season.

Los Angeles also made a qualifying offer to backup running back Benny Cunningham and re-signed backup safety Cody Davis and offensive lineman Brian Folkerts.

Keenum is the Rams' presumptive starter heading into their first season back in Los Angeles, according to coach Jeff Fisher. He went 3-2 as the starter last season in St. Louis, passing for 828 yards and four touchdowns after taking over for Nick Foles.

''I put expectations and goals on myself,'' Keenum said last week when the Rams gathered on the West Coast for the first time for an informational meeting.

''I think I can be really good, and I work hard for that,'' he said. ''Nothing has ever been handed to me, so I don't expect anything in return to be handed. I'm going to work for it.

''My teammates are going to work for it and we're excited to work. We're excited to be in a new city, to come and show what we are about. It's exciting.''

Barnes started all 16 games for the Rams last season after appearing mostly on special teams in his first three years with St. Louis. He recovered two fumbles late in the Rams' upset victory at Seattle in December.

''Excited to be back with the Rams,'' Barnes tweeted. ''Looking forward to a great couple of years with great teammates!''

The Rams lost starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins to the New York Giants in a massive free-agent deal, and safety Rodney McLeod signed with Philadelphia.

Los Angeles had hoped to retain all four starters in its defensive secondary in free agency, but has backup plans already on the roster, particularly with cornerback E.J. Gaines.

The Rams also still have starting cornerback Trumaine Johnson after he accepted the $13.95 million franchise tender last week.

The Rams didn't extend qualifying offers to linebacker Daren Bates and running back Chase Reynolds, making them free agents.

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