Free Agency is still late in its first week, and the Rams could still sign some players, and according to Jeff Fisher’s press conference the Rams aren’t done by any means, but at this point the big splashes have been made and anything from this point on will be medium-tier signings.
Going into 2014, this offseason is very important to the Rams, what they do will determine how well they do during the regular season, and unfortunately for them, that includes how they do in free agency. The Rams do have nine picks in the upcoming draft, but those nine players will all be inexperienced and will take time to adjust to the NFL.
At this point you have to believe that the Rams have been losers of the free agency period. In one week, the Rams have signed one player in Rodger Saffold, and to be honest, they are lucky even that happened.
Had the Raiders not been so “Raidery” for more than 24-hours, Saffold would be in Oakland and the Rams’ only free agent signing would have been linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, and would be without some sort of offensive line.
The Rams have thus far, failed to re-sign any of the free agents that many fans thought that they would need to re-sign. Yes, they re-signed Dunbar, but frankly, Dunbar struggled last year and was a liability on defense.
The Rams let Kellen Clemens walk, which could have been a mistake. Clemens was by no means Josh McCown in terms of backup quarterbacks, but he got the job done and won some games against decent opponents when Sam Bradford went down last year. The Rams could have very well lost every game after Bradford went down, but instead they won four of their last nine games.
The Rams will more than likely draft a backup quarterback, but Clemens would have been nice to have as a third string guy to help groom the rookie quarterback. Not only that Clemens was just a nice veteran guy to have in the locker room. He will surely be missed.
The Rams will get by without Clemens, but what about guards Chris Williams and Shelley Smith. Now Williams was given an outrageous deal by the Buffalo Bills, but Smith was given a two-year deal worth $5.5 million, something reasonable that the Rams could have at least matched if not beat.
The Rams are thin to say the least at the guard position, bringing in one of those guys would have been nice at least for depth purposes, especially Smith who rated pretty well last season on Pro Football Focus especially in the run game with a 12.3 rating, fourth best among guards.
Not only that, but the guard that the Rams did bring in, Davin Joseph and Daryn Colledge, left without a deal, along with wide receiver Kenny Britt who were all low risk, reward type players.
One disappointing possible missed signing that many Rams fans were hoping for was that of Alterraun Verner. Verner signed with the Buccaneers for only around $6 million a year, something that the Rams could have afforded even with the signing of Saffold.
The Rams could have used experience at cornerback after the collapse of Cortland Finnegan and with Verner being only 25 and coming off a great season, it was one move that the Rams should have and could have made.
The Rams were also supposedly in the hunt for safety Jairus Byrd, but with him costing $9 million a year, passing on Byrd is at least understandable considering the cost.
Some did not expect the Rams to do much during free agency but certainly they expected them to do more than they are right now. Building through the draft is fine, but you have to acquire players during free agency as well. Rookies can only do so much.
At this point in the game, Im going to have to call the Rams losers thus far in free agency. Sure they re-signed Saffold and Dunbar, but other than that they have missed out on some players that they desperately could have used such as Shelley Smith and Alterraun Verner.
The game of free agency isn’t over yet however, we aren’t even through the first week. The Rams can still sign some impact players that could get them closer to being winners.