The NFL is about two months away from being able to hand-pick their own young prospects through the draft, but fortunately enough; free agency is just right around the corner. The review overlook for St. Louis does not look well though, as they are one of the teams with little wiggle room under the projected $133 million salary cap for all teams. The Rams may have to look into restructuring some of their players contracts, and maybe even cutting a few notable players from the roster. The NFL Draft Daily plans to take an in-depth look at the possibilities that may occur in the Rams free agency period; while also covering notable cuts made on the team in order to give them more cap room.
One of the more notable transactions the team made two years ago was the signing of corner, Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan had a decent season his first year for St. Louis, but regressed mightily last year and wound up being a liability on defense. With younger corners like Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins out performing the wily veteran, it may make sense to cut their losses with Finnegan. The Rams offensive line also needs to be considered as a position of need in the coming weeks. Left tackle, Jake Long, was signed before last season to anchor Sam Bradford’s blind side; Long went down with an ACL tear at the end of the season leaving this year in question for his return. Other offensive lineman who may not return are the possible cut casualty of Harvey Dahl and Rodger Saffold’s impending free agency. Dahl has not lived up to his signing on the line and Saffold may demand a higher pay raise from the Rams, even though he has not been exactly durable in his career. Other positions of need are safety, defensive back, and possibly another outside linebacker if they let Jo-Lonn Dunbar go.
If St. Louis can lower their salary cap substantially below the league requirement, look for them to make a big move in the defensive backfield. Safety has been a position of need for the Rams for quite a while now and two of the best in the league, Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward, are available on the market. Byrd’s market may be too high for St. Louis as he expects to demand the highest salary at the position in the league. With two first round picks and the lack of cap room, don’t be surprised to see the Rams take care of their needs through the draft. Free agency may not be as active as St. Louis fans may want to see, as the NFL Draft Daily predicts very little signings will be made by the team. Look for maybe a veteran lineman or two to be signed at reasonable price. Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah may be on the teams radar for the offensive line, and the Rams may look to re-sign Rodger Saffold. On defense, depending on how much salary cap space they clear up, St. Louis may make a run at the likes of Byrd. Other players who may warrant a look at a cheaper price are players like Louis Delmas, Malcolm Jenkins, or even Donte Whitner. The Rams fan base should not be too discouraged by the lack of movement, the draft has always been a vital key to any teams future success. With two first round picks, St. Louis will look to make most of their noise through draft day, hoping their young talent can help carry the Rams to competing for top dog in their tough NFC West division.
This article is one in a series, published daily, which provides analysis, insight, and predictions leading up to the NFL draft and beyond.
by Justin Huffman