According to his agent, much-maligned offensive tackle Alex Barron reportedly plans to sign his tender offer from the team and report to OTAs and mandatory minicamp this summer. Barron has skipped all of the team’s offseason sessions up to this point, opting instead to work out on his own. I want to go on record right now in saying that I am an Alex Barron supporter, and I have been for his entire career with the Rams. Yes, he takes WAY too many penalties. Yes, sometimes he looks lost and struggles against mediocre pass-rushers. I understand that. What people always seem to leave out when discussing Barron is the fact that he has shown flashes of being an elite LT in this league. He has gone up against and stopped some of the top rushers in this league, and there is no doubt that he has enough talent to be an effective tackle in this league. I’m not going to sit here and ignore his shortcomings, but as a restricted free agent I think it would be foolish to give up on him right now. If we were going to trade him, we should have done it before the draft. Hopefully the fact that we drafted a tackle with the 33rd pick with light a fire under Barron, because I think it would be a huge boost to our line if he finally plays up to his potential. If not, we have Saffold ready to take over and someone else can try to figure him out.
On another note, the Rams traded an undisclosed 2011 draft pick to the Chicago Bears today in exchange for safety Kevin Payne. Payne has started 22 games in his career and he has ammassed 195 tackles and four interceptions. He is a solid player who adds some nice depth to the secondary, and he should be a good fit with the Rams. For those of you wondering, beat writer Brian Stull said on Twitter that this move will not impact OJ Atogwe at all and that he expects Atogwe to sign his tender on June 1.