Editor’s Note: This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more NFL football news visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.
The St. Louis Rams are boring their fans to death in free agency. They wisely brought back right tackle Rodger Saffold to help keep their offensive line from falling apart, but otherwise have been frighteningly quiet in regards to making their so-so team significantly better.
It’s entirely possible that the Rams simply are high on their own talent and saw enough growth from specific players and positions to stand pat and keep building through the draft, but to even the casual fan, what they’ve done so far looks to be a whole lot of nothing.
St. Louis has absolutely been hesitant to spend big, but they’ve also made some good non-calls, as well. Passing on over-paying the now departed Chris Williams and Harvey Dahl actually wound up being two solid moves, as the Rams can almost certainly upgrade over them both in the draft or in later waves of free agency.
The release of fading cornerback Cortland Finnegan was also an excellent move, as it made sense financially, while Finnegan just wasn’t the same player anymore at 30 years of age.
That’s about where the praise has to end, however, as the Rams still have question marks on the offensive line, lack a go-to wide receiver, and have serious issues all along their secondary. Holding two selections in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft can surely help alleviate some of these concerns, but Rams fans would just as quickly take some sure fixes in the form of some free agent signings.
Most of the big names are gone by now, but there still remain a handful of players St. Louis could probably bring on at a decent price and help improve their roster in some spots. Here’s a look at five guys who could do just that:
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans
Kenny Britt is probably the most attractive passing weapon still left on the open market at the wide receiver position, as has awesome size and is still just 25 years old. He’s had numerous injuries and character concerns, but hasn’t even entered his prime and was able to stay mostly healthy in 2013. He could be a very nice discount signing, as he’s out to prove he still can play at a high level. As long as the price is right, he’s worth taking a look at. The Rams simply don’t have anyone with his combination of size and ball skills.
Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Rice can’t stay healthy and really has one top-level season under his belt, but he’s still in his prime and has been quite effective when he can stay on the field. The good thing here is that he would probably come at a discount on a “prove it” deal and still has the size, ball skills and catch radius to be a major factor. The Rams might be better off just trying to draft their own version of what Rice might be able to do when he’s healthy, but there’s a chance he could still have something left in the tank.
While Britt and Rice actually fit the mold of the type of go-to wide receiver the Rams need and probably want, it’s also possible they take a close look at guys like Miles Austin or Lance Moore to help round out their receiving corps.
Chris Clemons, S, Miami Dolphins
T.J. McDonald might be the answer at one safety spot, but the Rams absolutely need to start over at the other. Truth be told, they could draft or sign two safeties as potential upgrades, and no one would bat an eye. The Rams have been woeful against the pass and their safety play has played a big hand in their poor production. Clemons is an excellent coverage safety with terrific range. He’d fit in nicely and offer play light years beyond what they’ve been getting.
Tyson Clabo, OT, Miami Dolphins
Jake Long tore up his knee last year and even the re-signed Saffold has a shoulder issue. The Rams need to better protect themselves (and Sam Bradford) by making sure they have a deeper, more versatile offensive line. Clabo is aging and isn’t as effective as he once was, but he should still be able to perform solidly on the right side. If not him, the Rams could consider bringing in other aging but still mostly effective tackles such as Eric Winston or David Stewart.
Terrell Thomas, CB, New York Giants
Thomas has really had bad luck with injuries, as he missed all of 2011 and 2012 with knee injuries and just wasn’t quite himself upon returning in 2013. Just 29, the Rams could bring him in on a one-year deal to see if he can get back to his old level of play, however. It’d be a cheap risk, and if it pays off the Rams have a potential lockdown corner across from Janoris Jenkins. Other corners that could make sense are aging but likely relatively cheap veterans like Asante Samuel and Champ Bailey.
Ultimately, it’s not very likely the Rams suddenly change their conservative stance in free agency and start dropping contracts left and right. On the other hand, it’s not totally crazy to think they simply wanted to wait until the later waves of free agency to nab some of the better bargain buys. If that ends up in fact being the case, then St. Louis could definitely consider some of the guys listed above.
That’s not their likely path to success, though, so while it’s fun to wonder and even predict what they’ll do, the best bet is they continue the safe approach and just build through the draft. Heading into May, they’ll have several holes to fill – specifically in their secondary and at wide receiver. With two first round picks, the Rams can do a lot of damage on day one of the draft, and depending on the moves they inevitably make, it could make up for what has been a lackluster showing during this year’s free agency period.
Tags: St. Louis Rams