For Rams fans it may come as a disbelief, but should not come as a surprise. St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Rodger Saffold will test the free agent market via STLToday.
I’m intrigued at the suddenly strong market for #Rams OT/G Rodger Saffold. Some teams view him as a top 3 guard, others as a viable LT
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2014
Although it is not impossible that the Rams won’t re-sign Saffold, it just isn’t going to happen before the free agency period begins like many would have hoped. The Rams and Saffold are still going to be talking to see if they can get a deal done, but Saffold will also see what other teams are valuing him.
The NFL is a business after all, and that’s exactly how Saffold is treating this situation. He received a lot of interest from teams at the NFL Scouting Combine, and will see what those teams are willing to offer him before deciding whether or not he will leave the team.
“We had a good conversation with Rodger’s representatives at the (scouting) combine,” Rams executive vice president Kevin Demoff said. “They said all the right things. As Jeff (Fisher) and Les (Snead) said in their interviews, re-signing Rodger is a priority. There’s good dialogue going on.”
One example of a player hitting the fee agent market and then re-signing with the Rams is cornerback Ron Bartell, who briefly reached the free-agent market in 2009. He was strongly pursued by New Orleans but opted to re-sign with St. Louis.
The major factor on whether or not Saffold comes back to St. Louis is if another team gives him left tackle kind of money. The Rams see Saffold more as a guard than a tackle, and Saffold was open to that, but if he can get the big dollars as a left tackle he would certainly take it.
If Saffold does not re-sign with the Rams, it leaves the team with a decent amount of money to spend during free agency as well as a gaping hole in the interior of the offensive line. Other guards the Rams could pursue are Zane Beadles or Chad Rinehart.
All hope of re-signing Saffold is not lost, but it would certainly seem unlikely at this point. The thing that should be remembered is that Snead and Fisher did say re-signing Saffold was a top priority which means they are going to do whatever they can without making a non-football decision that would hurt the team, to try and re-sign Saffold.