Rams Free Agency 2012: St. Louis Continues To Reshape Its Roster

With the 2012 NFL Draft in the books, the St. Louis Rams are still molding their 2012 roster.

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Steven Jackson Rumors: Rams Deny Contract, Trade Rumors

The St. Louis Rams have yet to draft Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson, and they might not even get the chance to, or even have any interest in doing so. But persistent rumors that the team is interested in Richardson have brought on new rumors that Rams running back Steven Jackson is demanding either a new contract or a trade.

As far as both of those rumors go, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Jackson has not demanded a new contract and that the Rams have no interest in trading him. Jackson's current contract pays him $7 million over the next two seasons, and though practically every NFL player would welcome a contract extension that guarantees more money, Thomas reports that Jackson is fine with his current deal.

Thomas also reiterates that if the Rams were to draft Richardson, they would in all likelihood keep Jackson around as well. Of course, the chances that Richardson falls to the Rams at No. 6 overall are very slim, but that hasn't— and won't— stop the rumor mill.

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Rams be sure to visit Turf Show Times. Visit SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.


NFL Rumors 2012: Steven Jackson Trade Talk Nonsensical For St. Louis Rams

I don't doubt that the St. Louis Rams are thinking about trading Steven Jackson—Turf Show Times reported on the rumor here—but I am deeply skeptical of anybody who tries to suggest that the kind of trade they'd be able to make makes any sense for the team, especially if it leads to Trent Richardson being selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. Here's a shorthand version: The Rams would trade Steven Jackson, who ran for 1145 yards in 15 starts last year, for a middle-of-the-pack draft pick; they would then draft Trent Richardson, in the hopes that he'd run for 1145 yards in 15 starts next year; they would then, somehow, win more games than they did last season.

Replacing the running back on this team should be their very last priority—and that would be true no matter how old Jackson was. If he wants a new contract I suppose the calculus changes, but overpaying Jackson for a year or two might be worth having the No. 6 pick in this year's draft free to select someone who isn't presently redundant and increasingly obsolete.


Steven Jackson Contract Dispute: Rams Running Back Wants New Deal

The St. Louis Rams, looking to build a new winning era after a 2-14 season and a management overhaul, may have a stumbling block their way. According to Mike Lombardi, the star RB Steven Jackson wants a new deal:

RotoWorld.com reports Jackson's base salary to be at $7 million for both of the next two seasons. If the team is not willing to restructure the deal, they may look to take a top running back prospect in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft. The team is reportedly looking into wide receivers at the moment, but a prolonged contract dispute may change that.

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Rams be sure to visit Turf Show Times. Visit SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.


NFL Rumors 2012: Where Braylon Edwards Fits On The St. Louis Rams Depth Chart

Resolved: Braylon Edwards, one of the last name-brand wide receiver free agents, would be at the top of the St. Louis Rams' wide receiver depth chart in terms of brand recognition, and as a result stories connecting them on the NFL rumor mill are truly inevitable. (This is kind of one of them!) Question: Where would Braylon Edwards be on the real Rams' depth chart?

He fits, somehow, above and below the Rams' current receivers. He could somehow be worse than all of them, and certainly will have to improve to align with the workmanlike Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola. Whether he does or doesn't, he'd probably be cut if he plays like he did in 2011. At the same time, he's at least a little more likely to turn into Braylon Edwards—not 2007, but maybe 2010—than either of those less peaky receivers.

Braylon Edwards is a lottery ticket. He's not the kind of sturdy number-two on which the Rams need to build their receiving corps, but if they look elsewhere first—to Justin Blackmon, perhaps—he could be a worthwhile gamble.

More NFL rumor coverage handpicked from SB Nation St. Louis:


Peyton Manning Update: Blogs Won't Have Tim Tebow To Kick Around Any More

So: Peyton Manning has signed with the Denver Broncos. This is good news for those of us who were worried he'd sign in the NFC West, and bad news for those of us who will no longer have Tim Tebow to kick around. All those years—okay, two—of Tim Tebow dominating Denver sports, turning an accidental starting job into fame and fortune, causing atheists to foam at the mouth... all that is over.

Well, until the Broncos trade him. Then it starts up somewhere else, and let me tell you, it's going to be great. Wherever he goes next won't have a big evangelical community like Colorado Springs, but it also won't have two years of practice in the Tebow culture wars. It'll begin again, like back when the Tebow story was fresh and interesting and not really overplayed and still kind of interesting, if I'm being honest with myself.

Current rumor: The New England Patriots. Be prepared for true pandemonium.


NFL Free Agency: Braylon Edwards Sits In Bare Wide Receiver Cupboard For St. Louis Rams

There were plenty of second-tier wide receivers available at the start of NFL free agency, and the St. Louis Rams seemed to have a hand on most of them. Then Mario Manningham picked the San Francisco 49ers, Brandon Lloyd signed with the New England Patriots, and Laurent Robinson—well, it's not really that important. Now the Rams awake to a group of free agent wide receivers with problems at least as glaring as the ones on their existing models. Braylon Edwards, Early Doucet, and Giants Steve Smith are the relevant examples.

Edwards was outstanding in 2007, when he caught 80 balls for 1289 yards, and pretty good in 2010, but his problems with holding onto the ball when it hits his hands and staying healthy are both well-documented. Early Doucet is an injury-prone third receiver, much like every other wide receiver on the St. Louis Rams. Steve Smith is Danario Alexander with a year in which he miraculously stayed healthy.

Such is the nature of bargain-hunting—occasionally that shirt you find at Goodwill fits you perfectly, and occasionally Braylon Edwards has another 2010 left in the tank, but most of the time you're just trying on a shirt somebody else threw out.

More wide receiver talk from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Rumors 2012: David Garrard Reportedly Has Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams In Sights

NFL rumors don't usually spring up out of backup quarterback visits, but the St. Louis Rams have had an especially rough time with the position of late—rough enough that the suggestion that David Garrard might visit the Rams this week has taken NFL free agency primacy around town. It'd be a hard sell, considering he might still start for the Miami Dolphins, but the Rams will have to do what they need to do to avoid a repeat of 2011, in which A.J. Feeley—who hadn't played in a regular-season NFL game since 2007—had to make three starts with Sam Bradford on the bench.

Garrard, who missed the 2011 season following surgery on a herniated disk, seems slightly overqualified as an unconditional backup, as he would be with the Rams; in 2010 he threw for 2734 yards and 23 touchdowns in 14 starts, and the two years before that saw him top 3500 yards.

More quarterback news around the NFC West, handpicked from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Free Agency: Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots Separated By Contract Demands

The St. Louis Rams looked to have moved on—targeting Mario Manningham in recent days—but Josh McDaniels's captive receiver, Brandon Lloyd, and the New England Patriots are reportedly separated still by Brandon Lloyd's demand for a crazy deal. Lloyd appears to have gotten into the market too late, as a rush of early demand (and crazy early rumors) in NFL free agency has left the few remaining wide receivers looking at decidedly more pedestrian contract offers from the remaining teams.

Lloyd is an excellent wide receiver, but his market is probably depressed by just how dependent he seems on Josh McDaniels; unless they're negotiating as a package deal, he's a harder sell to other teams than he is to the Patriots now or was to the Rams a few months ago.

It doesn't seem likely that his price will fall enough to get the Rams interested, but it's hard to rule anything out in a universe where Laurent Robinson has a long-term deal. Here's more on the Rams' hunt for a number-one wide receiver, hand-picked from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Free Agency 2012: DL Jason Jones Signs With Seahawks

According to his agent, ex-Tennessee Titans defensive linemen Jason Jones has signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks after being courted heavily by the St. Louis Rams. But after the Rams signed defensive linemen Kendall Langford to a four-year, $24 deal, the likelihood of the team bringing in Jones too a major hit.

The terms of the contract have yet to be released, but Jones signing a one-year deal likely indicates that he didn't get the type of long-term offer he was looking for and will look to re-enter the market next season. Jones, who has 16 career sacks in 49 games, played for new Rams head coach Jeff Fisher for three years in Tennessee.

More coverage of the Rams' busy NFL Free Agency season from SB Nation St. Louis:

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Rams be sure to visit Turf Show Times. Visit SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.


NFL Rumors 2012: Mario Manningham, St. Louis Rams Nearing Deal

The St. Louis Rams have done a fine job of filling the holes on their offensive and defensive line thus far in NFL free agency, signing center Scott Wells and talking with Jason Jones, but their highest-profile hole, at wide receiver, could be the next to go: The NFL rumor mill suggests the Rams are nearing a deal with Mario Manningham.

Manningham’s a great fit for a team that’s still looking to choose Justin Blackmon with their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He’s not a number-one option for most teams, but while Blackmon develops Manningham will stretch defenses that has no reason to look downfield while Danny Amendola sat on top of the wide receiver depth chart. He’s a genuine deep threat, and he’ll give Sam Bradford a lot of the same looks Brandon Lloyd offered during his brief stint in St. Louis.

The best news: He could also do it cheaper.

More NFL free agency coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Rumors 2012: Steve Smith, St. Louis Rams Connected By Physical

The St. Louis Rams could be close to signing (New York Giants) Steve Smith, if the latest NFL rumors are any indication: They've reportedly given Smith a physical. For the injury-prone 27-year-old the Rams, who don't have any sure things in their receiving corps for 2012, could be an ideal fit, and for the Rams he'll be a cheap gamble. Smith, who caught 107 balls for 1220 yards and seven touchdowns in his only full season back in 2009, caught just 11 balls for 124 yards in a 2011 stint with the Philadelphia Eagles.

One potential stumbling block: The Rams already have a potential star with a serious knee problem in the rotation—Danario Alexander, who caught 26 balls for 431 yards and two touchdowns. It's hard to imagine Smith pipping Alexander, but it's even harder to imagine both of them staying healthy for a full season.

Some other wide receiver options, as documented in SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Free Agency 2012: Mario Manningham, St. Louis Rams Do Some Negotiating

The St. Louis Rams and Mario Manningham have seemed like a superficially solid fit since 2012 NFL free agency season began, but it's only now that we know there's some fire behind that speculation: The Rams and Manningham have met, according to recent reports, giving the Rams a route to the Super Bowl hero and the Super Bowl hero a chance to be a number-one receiver by default in an offense built around a supposedly brilliant young quarterback.

Manningham isn't a number one receiver, but he is a deep threat who could pass for one in an offense that has, to date, been dominated by Danny Amendola. He's better than Mike Sims-Walker, and on a personal level Manningham won't have a chance to put up bigger numbers anywhere else, even if the Rams do draft Justin Blackmon.

Here're some hand-picked SB Nation St. Louis stories that have a bearing on the Rams' wide receiver plans:


NFL Free Agency: Mario Manningham Among Remaining Receivers For St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams have already fulfilled their biggest need heading into NFL free agency, signing Cortland Finnegan to a five-year contract on day one, but their most superficially obvious need—a wide receiver Sam Bradford can count on—remains unsettled. Most of the big names have already left the market, and despite a brief flirtation with Robert Meacham the Rams looked undisturbed by their absence. Mario Manningham, perhaps tops among the remaining names that aren't Brandon Lloyd, remains an option, as the National Football Post reports.

The San Francisco 49erswho already landed Randy Moss, the jerks—are reportedly already in the mix on Manningham, who at 25 has failed to graduate from brilliant-but-frustrating second banana to number-one receiver. He wouldn't be the number-one option of Sam Bradford's dreams, but he'll come cheap, and he possesses more potential (not to mention better numbers) than any Rams wide receiver not named Danario Alexander. Also, any Rams wide receiver with two functioning knees.

If the Rams turn out infatuated with Justin Blackmon after all, he and Manningham would be a nice upgrade on what passed for a receiving corps last year—even though they might not be considerably more tested.

More wide receiver updates from the writing corps at SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Rumors 2012: St. Louis Rams Could Seek Wide Receivers In Trade If Free Agency Falls Through

The St. Louis Rams have had a successful free agency season so far, signing Cortland Finnegan and getting close to Jason Jones, but they’ve proven unable to snare the wide receivers of their dreams: Robert Meacham ended up with the San Diego Chargers, while Vincent Jackson took a long-term deal from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Randy Moss signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

That’s not the only option, though, and Turf Show Times reminds us Wednesday that the Rams also have plenty of raw materials for a trade—all those draft picks they’ve just collected are useful in themselves, but if the Rams were to peel one or two of them off they’d have plenty with which to tempt a team that didn’t just get to take advantage of the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III hysteria.

Free agency is far from over, but it looks like the Rams’ wide receiver hunt will continue even after it is.

More wide receiver coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Free Agency: Jason Jones, St. Louis Rams Reportedly Close To Contract

The St. Louis Rams approach a contract with Jason Jones, another Jeff Fisher acolyte set to leave the Tennessee Titans in a wild start to 2012 NFL Free Agency.


NFL Rumors: St. Louis Rams Could Hit Brandon Lloyd With Franchise Tag

In the immediate aftermath of Josh McDaniels's ungainly exit from the St. Louis Rams it seemed, if you knew your NFL rumors, like Brandon Lloyd was going to be a New England Patriot almost by default—McDaniels seemed almost to be his Svengali, and Lloyd had nothing holding him in St. Louis except a few games in which he tried to establish a rhythm with—well, A.J. Feeley and Kellen Clemens, mostly. Turf Show Times has another suggestion entirely: Use the much-maligned franchise tag on him.

In case the franchise tag confuses you as much as it does me: Teams get one a year, which allows them to offer, in the "exclusive" variety, a "franchise player"—it's odd to see that kind of thing turn into an actuarial designation, and not a sportswriting one—a one-year deal worth the result of an apparently complicated formula, as of last year's new CBA.

For wide receivers that's $9.4 million, significantly less than it was last year. It's a little absurd to think of Brandon Lloyd as Franchise Player of the St. Louis Rams, but that's contract negotiations will make absurdities of even the most venerable language.

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