December 2, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) is sacked by St. Louis Rams defensive end William Hayes (95) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

St Louis Rams 2013 Offseason Update: Free Agency and the NFC West

The St Louis Rams early offseason discussions all seemed to be focusing on the players that the team was going to be moving on without in 2013.  The Rams are likely to be without Steven Jackson, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, as well as their top two receivers from the 2012 season in Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson from the offense.  Then there is also the release of Quintin Mikell and the departure of Craig Dahl through free agency on the defensive side of the ball.  Another defensive player that many had assumed would be leaving town through free agency was William Hayes.  Hayes had a very solid 2012 campaign as a part of the Rams defensive rotation, notching 7 sacks and undoubtedly generating plenty of interest from other teams around the league in need of  a quality pass rusher with run stopping ability.  Les Snead and company made their first move towards building the 2013 squad by signing Hayes to a 3 year deal just before the start of free agency.  While the signing of Hayes isn’t as flashy as the moves made by the Rams division counterparts, Hayes was an important component in the defensive line rotation that tied for the league lead in sacks in 2012.

Free Agency.  The free agency period opened up with a flurry of activity, and among those teams that making moves to bolster their roster was the St Louis Rams.  The Rams have reportedly signed TE Jared Cook away from the Tennessee Titans to pair with Lance Kendricks (the Hernandez to Kendricks’ Gronk?).  Cook is a speedy tight end who can stretch the field down the seam, and should provide a nice weapon for Sam Bradford in 2013.  So far that is the only player the Rams have managed to snatch up in free agency, but they do have scheduled visits with the Miami Dolphins OT Jake Long, as well as Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas.  It is unclear exactly how much cap space is available to the Rams to come to terms with either Long or Delmas, but each player would fit a huge need for this young Rams team. If the Rams could manage to pick up either Delmas or Long that would certainly provide them with a little more flexibility in the draft.

The Trades.  Every Rams fan is well aware of the two blockbuster trades made in the NFC West yesterday.  There was plenty of talk about how each move so vastly improved the Rams rivals that their was no hope for the Rams to compete for a division title in 2013.  I am not going to tell you that those moves didn’t improve their respective teams, but lets not hand the Lombardi Trophy to any team in the beginning of March.  Let’s take a closer look at the players involved in each trade, and what each team gave up for the rights to their new toy.

The San Francisco 49ers made a move to bolster their receiving corps by adding Super Bowl 47 hero Anquan Boldin via trade.  Boldin is probably the most physical wide receiver in the NFL, a veteran player with the savvy to get open and the ability to win one on one against even the best corners.  The most amazing part of this trade is that the 49ers only gave their 6th round draft choice to get the rights to Boldin.  I have to believe any team would have jumped at the opportunity to add Boldin at that price.  Boldin will make a nice receiving tandem with Michael Crabtree, both players are physical with the ability to make something happen after the catch.  At 32 Boldin is unlikely to take it the distance on a slant route like Crabtree is capable of, but turning a 5 yard reception into a 25 yard play is definitely still in his skill set.

The Seattle Seahawks may have made the biggest move of the NFL offseason so far when they negotiated a trade with the Minnesota Vikings for Percy Harvin.  The Seahawks paid a hefty price for the rights to Harvin, reportedly their first and seventh rounders in 2013 as well as a 3rd round choice in 2014.  Of course that only represents the draft capital they handed over, details of the contract and the amount of money they will be paying Harvin have yet to be released.  As one of the more dynamic playmakers in the NFL who is in the prime of his career Harvin figures to earn somewhere around 8 to 12 million dollars a year (Mike Wallace signed a 5 year deal worth 60 million with the Dolphins).  The price figures to be high for the Seahawks in both dollars and draft capital, however, a move like this shows that they believe they are only a few pieces away from a Super Bowl.

Thanks for reading and as always Go Rams!!

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