If you are reading this, congradulations on making it through the 2014 offseason “dead period” in the NFL. Today marks the official start of free agency, or at least the time period when agents can begin negotiating with other teams. That likely means we won’t see a lot of players switching from team to team; rather, a boatload of player re-upping with their own squad without testing the market.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some reason to be excited in Rams Nation. If fact, NFL.com got into the spirit by releasing their team-by-team analysis of “top free agent priorities.” Interestingly enough, the seemingly “no-brainer” pick of safety, or even defensive back, was not the route NFL Media Analyst, Elliot Harrison, chose to go down for the Rams. Instead, he opted for… wide receiver.
There is no doubt that the St. Louis Rams would like to add some more talent to pair with Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey on the outside. However, when the “biggest” free agent in the receiver market is Eric Decker, you know the talent pool is pretty weak.
Aside from Decker, there are a number of other potential players that the St. Louis Rams might be interested in signing, should they choose to go down that route. As Elliot points out in his breakdown, both Hakeem Nicks and James Jones are slotted to test the waters next week. Both players have certainly shown to be capable receivers in the NFL. But, is the what the Rams truly need?
Without having to dive too much into statistics, we already know that neither player was “the guy” on their roster. James Jones was one of about four receivers and tight ends that benefitted from the greatness of Aaron Rodgers, and would likely fall behind both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, in terms of pure receiving talent. Hakeem Nicks, at one point, was the star of the show for Eli Manning in New York, but injuries and the emergence of Victor Cruz have made the former star an obviously expendable asset.
Making the prospect of wide receiver being the “top priority” in free agency even more laughable is the Rams adventageous draft positions in the 1st round. In fact, with some intellegent manuevering, some luck, and a small trade up from the No.13 spot, the Rams could (if they wanted) snag both Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans in the opening round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
With greater holes and, more importantly, much greater talent at other positions in free agency, do not expect the Rams to tackle their receiver problem in the coming weeks. If anything, St. Louis may make a surprising release from the receiving corps (i.e. Austin Pettis), to make room for the inevitable drafting of, at least, one playermaker in the upcoming draft.
If we had to bet the house on a position, the smart money would be on the Rams hunting down an interior lineman or veteran safety this week.
Tags: St. Louis Rams