With the bulk of free agency in the rear view mirror, some have already shifted their focus to May, when teams will get their final shot at filling their roster with the best talent headed into the 2014 season. However, despite a majority of the “big names” being signed within the first 48 hours of the free agency period, there are still a handful of notable stragglers in the class that could make an immediate impact on a team in the coming year.
According to Spotrac.com, the Rams are currently sitting $12.9 million under the salary cap, not including any offsets from the Miami Dolphins’ signing of Cortland Finnegan or the 2014 cap figures for the recently re-signed Rodger Saffold and Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Assuming a “best case scenario,” St. Louis could be sitting somewhere around $8.5 million in space, leaving the Rams with enough room for another mid-range contract or, at least, a couple of small deals with “lesser name” players.
So, who is left in the free agent class that the Rams might be willing to spend that cap space on?
Davin Joseph, OG
Joseph has been connected to the St. Louis Rams for nearly a week now, even before the major Rodger Saffold mishap in Oakland. He reported left the Rams facilities without signing a contract, but, as St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Jim Thomas claimed last week,
If money’s right, and Davin Joseph passes HIS physical, he could still be a Ram. Team needs two starting guards after Williams signs w/Bills
— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 13, 2014
According to Pro Football Focus’ grading, Joseph has never truly lived up to first round “prowess,” including a dismal -34.4 overall grade last season. His time in Tampa Bay has been riddled with injuries and inconsistency, both on the offensive line and in the coaching staff and Buccaneers’ front office. Would a change of scenery and an upgrade of surrounding talent help? For the right money, the Rams could certainly give it a shot, especially with the departure of both Chris Williams and Shelley Smith.
Chris Clemons, S
The word on Clemons in free agency has been pretty mum since his “departure” from the Miami Dolphins. Most of the teams that were in dire need of an upgrade in the deep secondary have already broke the bank to snag “their guy,” potentially leaving the former Clemson Tiger as the odd man out in the class. Early reports suggested that the Detroit Lions were the potential top suitors for Clemons, but there hasn’t been much information since that initial reporting of interest.
As more time passes, price tags typically begin to drop, and more cap-friendly structuring and incentive-laced clauses can be sewn into contracts for players desperate to find a home for the 2014 season. Clemons started all 16 games for the Dolphins in both 2012 and 2013, so persistent injuries do not appear to be a major concern. However, if the Rams can manage a more “team-friendly” deal due to the withering of the free agency class, it could certainly be incentive enough to for them to sign one of the top coverage safeties in the NFL last season. Clemons might not be the ball-hawking, turnover monster that they are looking for in a potential free safety signee, but he would certainly be an upgrade over Rodney McLeod, and would provide a strong veteran presence in the secondary; a newly-formed void, opened by the release of Cortland Finnegan.
Kenny Britt, WR
When it comes to skill set, measurables, and “potential,” there are is no players left in free agency with more than former Tennessee Titan, Kenny Britt. According to reports, Britt has already visited with Rams’ officials, making the anticipated visit with his former head coach, Jeff Fisher. He left Rams Park without signing a deal, purportedly visiting with the New England Patriots on Sunday. However, with Julian Edelman in the bag for Tom Brady, it is unclear how much they’ll have left in the bank to splurge on a boom-or-bust free agent receiver.
For the St. Louis Rams, the idea of signing Britt seems like a “no-brainer.” Even with the expectation that they’ll target a wide receiver with one of their two 1st-rounders, the Rams receiving corps has plenty of room to house a potential star at wide out, with only five players currently signed onto that depth chart. Much like Davin Joseph, the career of Britt has been riddled with injuries and inconsistency, especially at the quarterback position. In fact, in his five years in Tennessee, he has had five different signal callers throwing him the football: Vince Young, Kerry Collins, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Reports from Rams Camp were that Britt’s injury plagued knee passed that team physical. If injuries aren’t a concern, there should be nothing stopping Les Snead and Jeff Fisher from handing the one-time top receiver prospect a one-year, “show me” contract. His early production suggests that there is certainly “something there,” and Sam Bradford could be the quarterback that can pop the top on Britt’s potential in the NFL.
Tags: St. Louis Rams