Rams decline option on CB Nickell Robey-Coleman's deal

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Rams have declined to exercise an option on Nickell Robey-Coleman's contract, the veteran cornerback confirmed to ESPN.

Robey-Coleman was set to enter the final season of a three-year, $15.7 million deal, but now becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Rams create $5 million in salary-cap space with the move.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the Rams' decision to move on from Robey-Coleman.

A seven-year NFL veteran, Robey-Coleman gained notoriety during the NFC Championship Game in January 2019 when he delivered a controversial hit to New Orleans Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Officials failed to call pass interference against Robey-Coleman, and the play proved critical as the Rams eventually went on to defeat the Saints in overtime to earn a trip to Super Bowl LIII.

Robey-Coleman admitted shortly after the game that the hit probably should have been flagged. During the ensuing offseason, the blown call led to a change in the NFL rulebook, which now allows for pass interference, including non-calls, to be reviewed.

Robey-Coleman was among the key free agents signed by the Rams in 2017 after the arrival of coach Sean McVay. In three seasons in Los Angeles, Robey-Coleman boosted his profile as one of the top nickelbacks in the NFL with 20 passes defended, 3 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles.

Prior to joining the Rams, Robey-Coleman played four seasons for the Buffalo Bills, who signed him as an undrafted free agent from USC.

The Rams' decision to move on from Robey-Coleman leaves them without one of the top playmakers in their secondary, which also includes cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but provides much-needed salary-cap relief as they continue to pay out megadeals to quarterback Jared Goff, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, running back Todd Gurley and receiver Brandin Cooks.

The Rams also have expressed confidence in their depth at cornerback, which includes Troy Hill, Darious Williams and David Long.