Rams to release LB Mark Barron after five seasons

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Minutes after the close of the franchise-tag deadline, the Los Angeles Rams made a surprise transaction on the defensive side of the ball.

The Rams will release linebacker Mark Barron, NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano reported Tuesday on Up to the Minute.

Barron, 29, was entering the fourth season of a five-year deal signed in 2016 and was owed $5 million in base salary. The hard-hitting defender will count $3.33 million against Los Angeles' cap in 2019, per OverTheCap.com.

The veteran linebacker will immediately become a free agent, one of a slew of Rams defenders who are slated to hit the open market. Ndamukong Suh, Lamarcus Joyner, Dante Fowler Jr. and Sam Shields are all unrestricted free agents.

Barron's impending release opens up roughly $6.33 million to re-sign one or more of those listed above or attack another need in free agency. The Rams have around $30 million in cap space heading into the new league year, a middle of the road number league-wide.

Since joining the Rams via trade from Tampa Bay in 2014, Barron has been a consistent presence in the front seven and defensive backfield. Barron totaled 398 tackles, seven sacks and five interceptions in his five-ish seasons with the franchise. The linebacker missed the first four games of the 2018 season with an ankle injury, but returned in Week 5 and played through Los Angeles' Super Bowl run.

Barron is listed as No. 85 in NFL.com's Top 101 Free Agents of 2019 list and as the 10th-best linebacker available.

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