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On Tuesday, the St. Louis Rams announced the addition of a pair of players.
The 32-year-old Haggan is a nine-year veteran of the NFL who most recently played for the Denver Broncos. Haggan has appeared in 121 games over the course of his career and posted a career-best 87 tackles in 2010. Prior to his four-year stint in Denver, he spent five seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
Richardson is a four-year NFL veteran; he started every game for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 and 2011.
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.
The St. Louis Rams submitted a counter-proposal on May 1 to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission regarding renovation plans for the Edward Jones Dome, and the addition of a retractable roof is one of the centerpieces of the team's plan, according to FOX-KTVI in St. Louis. Adding a retractable roof would likely require major structural changes to the Edward Jones Dome, and estimates on the potential cost of such a renovation range from $200 to $300 million. And that's only a piece of the full plan that will be released by Monday, May 14.
Back on March 1, the CVC submitted their own $124 million plan to renovate the Edward Jones Dome, but it was rejected by the Rams. The proposals by both parties are designed to address a clause in the stadium lease that would allow the Rams to opt out in 2015 if the Edward Jones Dome is not deemed to be a "first-tier" facility among the top-eight stadiums in the NFL. The CVC has until June 1 to either accept or reject the team's counter-proposal, and if the parties cannot reach an agreement by June 15 the issue will be handled through arbitration.
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.
The St. Louis Rams have hired executive Taylor Morton from the Atlanta Falcons, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Morton will be taking the role of college scouting director in St. Louis, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution adds.
Another Falcons scout, Taylor Morton, is joining the Rams as well. Believed to be coming as college scouting director.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) May 9, 2012
Morton had spent the past 12 years with the Falcons organization, most recently serving as the Southeast college scout for the team. He's also served as a scout in a variety of venues, including the scouting of other teams, other leagues and prospective free agents.
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.
On Tuesday afternoon, the St. Louis Rams announced that they have signed 23 undrafted rookie free agents, addressing need in a number of different areas.
Here is the list of those rookie acquisitions:
2012 Rams Rookie Free Agents
T. Bob Hebert -- G, LSU
Michael Hay -- G, Syracuse
Jamaar Jarrett -- DE, Arizona State
Scott Smith -- DE, Texas Tech
Joe Long -- T, Wayne State
Calvin Middleton -- RB, Jacksonville State
Matt Conrath -- DT, Virginia
Todd Anderson -- FB, Michigan State
DeAngelo Peterson -- TE, LSU
Sammy Brown -- LB, Houston
Alex Hoffman Ellis -- LB, Washington State
Noah Keller -- LB, Ohio
Cory Harkey -- TE, UCLA
Jeremy Caldwell -- CB, Eastern Kentucky
Quinton Pointer -- S, UNLV
Derrick Choice -- LB, Stephen F Austin
Matt Daniels -- S, Duke
Rodney McLeod -- S, Virginia
John Hekker -- P, Oregon State
Nick Schwieger -- RB, Dartmouth
Travis Tripuka -- LS, UMass
Nicholas Johnson -- WR, Henderson State
Austin Davis -- QB, Southern Miss
The St. Louis Rams submitted a counter-proposal to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission regarding renovation plans for the Edward Jones Dome on May 1, and now the public will have an opportunity to look over the plan. The team originally released a statement that the their proposal would be confidential, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch filed a lawsuit claiming the plan was subject to open-records law and since then the Post-Dispatch has reported that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and the AG's office will release the Rams' counter-proposal to the public by Monday, May 14.
The situation stems from a clause in the stadium lease that would allow the Rams to opt out in 2015 if the Edward Jones Dome is not deemed to be a "first-tier" facility among the top-eight stadiums in the NFL. The proposals by both parties are designed to address that clause in the lease. Back on March 1, the CVC's $124 million plan to renovate the Edward Jones Dome was rejected by the Rams. The CVC now has until June 1 to either accept or reject the team's counter-proposal, and if the parties cannot reach an agreement by June 15 the issue will be handled through arbitration.
The St. Louis Rams continue to shape their roster in the wake of the 2012 NFL Draft, and on Thursday the team signed three more rookie free agents.
Rams officially sign 3 more rookie free agents: QB Austin Davis, Southern Miss; CB Jeremy Caldwell, Eastern Kentucky; TE Cory Harkey, UCLA— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) May 3, 2012
Davis, a multi-year starter for the Golden Eagles, completed 60.2% of his pass attempts for 3,496 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2011. He also ran for 352 yards.
Harkey hardly factored into UCLA's offense in 2011, as he finished the year with just one reception for 10 yards.
Rams inform wide receiver/special teamer Dominique Curry he is being released.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) May 3, 2012
Curry, a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, joined the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2010, playing strictly on special teams in his two years with the club. He has 12 career tackles, according to NFL.com, and no receptions.
The Rams drafted two wide receivers in the 2012 NFL Draft, including their top pick, second-round choice WR Brian Quick. Additionally, the club added speedy WR Nick Johnson among their 23 undrafted free agents, reducing Curry's roster chances had the team even kept him until spring training.
St. Louis Rams submitted their counter-proposal to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission regarding renovation plans for the Edward Jones Dome by the May 1 deadline, but the team released a statement that the their proposal will remain confidential. Back on March 1, the CVC's $124 million plan to renovate the Edward Jones Dome was rejected by the Rams. Now the CVC will have until June 15 to either accept or reject the team's counter-proposal, and if the parties cannot reach an agreement by June 15 the issue will be handled through arbitration.
The situation stems from a clause in the stadium lease that would allow the Rams to opt out in 2015 if the Edward Jones Dome is not deemed to be a "first-tier" facility among the top eight stadiums in the NFL. The proposals by both parties are aimed at satisfying that clause in the lease.
The 2012 NFL Draft gets underway on Thursday night in New York City, and there's still plenty of debate on what the St. Louis Rams will do. St. Louis has been tied to Oklahoma St. wide receiver Justin Blackmon for months, but recently there's been talk that a) Blackmon could be gone, or b) St. Louis could pass on Blackmon if another elite prospect falls to the Rams' No. 6 overall selection.
Sam Farmer's mock recent mock in the Chicago Tribune has everything in its right place, though. Blackmon to the Rams at No. 6, just as everyone has suspected for months.
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.
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.
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.
The St. Louis Rams selected Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and the decision hasn't worked out for the team so far. Smith has fought concussion problems through his career and ended last season on injured reserve. Under the previous CBA, top five draft picks earned big money, and Smith's lack of production and original five-year, $54 million contract was hurting the Rams financially.
On Saturday, it was reported Smith will massively restructure his rookie contract.
Under the restructure, Smith's base salary in 2012 has been reduced to a fully guaranteed $4 million and he will also receive a $500,000 roster bonus, a pay cut of $5.5 million for this season. The 2014 season season has been deleted, so the $3.2675 million in option bonus proration has been accelerated onto the Rams' 2012 cap.
Despite that acceleration, Smith's 2012 cap number will go from $13.2675 million to $11.035 million, a reduction of $2.2325 million.
With the 2012 NFL Draft rapidly approaching and serious needs to fill across multiple positions, the St. Louis Rams have to pleased that cornerback Bradley Fletcher says he's ahead of schedule on his rehab from a torn ACL he suffered during the bye week of the 2011-12 NFL season. The former third round pick (66th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft has suffered two season-ending knee injuries in his first three NFL season, but Fletcher says he is recovering well and should be ready for training camp in July, according to a report by Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Here's what the young CB had to say (via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch):
"I'm ahead of schedule right now and things are going well," Fletcher said. "I'm back out here in individual drills with the team. It feels good being with the secondary, getting back in the drill work, catching balls. My knee's feeling really good. It's holding up right now."
"My whole mind-set after going through it before is I know what's to come," Fletcher said. "I know how this may feel, how that may feel. And I know personally how I can handle myself with that certain feeling I may have here or there."
Fletcher hasn't gotten full medical clearance yet on the knee, but says: "I know I'll be ready for training camp."
In 2010 -- his lone healthy season in the NFL -- Fletcher recorded four interceptions and 71 tackles in 15 starts for the Rams. If the 25-year old defender can return to form and stay healthy, the Rams might be able to improve their porous secondary by a significant margin in the upcoming season.
Rams have re-signed QB Kellen Clemens to a one-year deal as their backup behind Sam Bradford.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) April 17, 2012
Clemens, a six-year NFL veteran, started three games in place of an injured Sam Bradford during the 2011 season. He completed 52.7% of his passes for 546 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Over the course of his professional career, he has appeared in 28 games, with 12 starts.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Here is the staff according to STLToday.com:
Of note is the fact that neither Greg Williams nor the defensive coordinator position is listed. Williams is currently suspended indefinitely for his leading role in the ongoing controversy of "Bountygate."
The St. Louis Rams signed former Tennessee Titans defensive end William Hayes to a one-year contract on Friday, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. Haynes joins a list of recent Rams free agent moves designed to shore up the team's depth chart.
Hayes shores up a defensive end rotation depleted by the release of veteran James Hall. St. Louis also lost depth guy C.J. Ah You when they opted not to tender the restricted free agent an offer. Ah You occupied the fourth defensive end spot on the depth chart under head coach Steve Spagnuolo.
Hayes, 27, is primarily a run stopper, which should help the team do a better job containing the outside of the field. Of course, adding some outside linebackers would also be an important step in that process.
Here is what Turf Show Times, SB Nation's Rams site, had to say about Hayes when the Rams' interest was first reported:
Hayes' grades were also better when Fisher was the head coach, part of which may be due to the system changes in Fisher's absence. According to Pro Football Focus, Hayes graded out with 9.5 mark in 2010, before finishing with a negative grade last season. He had positive marks against the pass and the run. Hayes had two sacks, five hits and 23 quarterback pressures in 2010. He was more of a neutral grade in 2009, when he started 11 games, but he did record five sacks, five hits and 26 pressures, per PFF.
Free agent defensive end William Hayes has scheduled visits with the St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos, according to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com, and the Rams may have an advantage in the recruiting. Hayes was a fourth-round pick (No. 103 overall) by the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 NFL Draft, and played first under Jeff Fisher so he will likely be familiar with the defensive scheme in St. Louis.
Hayes turns 27 years old on May 2, and since being separated from Fisher he has seen far less playing time. In 2012 he started just one game and picked up 1.5 sacks, but the high-point of his career game back in 2009 when he recorded four sacks and 30 tackles as the starting left defensive end in 2009.
Im excited, nervous & happy 2 b a Ram. Im blessed 4 the opportunity. Id like 2 thk god 1st NOLA & Saints Thk u 4 making my dreams come true— Jo-lonn Dunbar (@JDunbar56) April 2, 2012
The 27-year-old Dunbar had 79 tackles, 1 sack and 2 fumbles forced in the 2011 season, his first season as a primary starter. The Boston College graduate has spent the first four years of his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints and has accrued to 159 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 2 fumbles forced.
The Rams met with Dunbar late last month along with four free agent offensive lineman.
The St. Louis Rams are working on assembling an improved team in 2012 as they continue trying to rebuild for the future. Their miserable 2011 season left them with plenty of positions they need to address for the fall and they will be looking to take advantage of the 2012 NFL Draft, which is just a month away.
Jason La Canfora of NFL.com recently ran down the salary cap situations of each NFL team as of March 30. Here is what the Rams are looking like as free agency continues and the draft draws closer.
St. Louis Rams
Current contracts: 46
Previous year carryover: $3,533,551.00
Adjusted cap: $125,485,099.00
Team cap: $121,170,443.94
Cap room: $4,314,655.06
Team cash: $94,940,524.94
Unfortunately, that $4 million in cap space doesn't leave the Rams a lot of wiggle room to make any significant splash in the free agent market. The team may attempt to free up some more space before all is said and done.
According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the St. Louis Rams may not wait until the 2012 NFL Draft to upgrade their receiving corps. Free agent WR Jerricho Cotchery is reportedly prepared to visit the Rams next week, potentially bringing both receiving and returning experience to an offense that had the fewest passing touchdowns (9) in the league:
WR Jerricho Cotchery will visit Rams next Tue+Wed, per source. News STL OC Brian Schottenheimer has always had great relationship w/him #nfl— Manish Mehta(@TheJetsStream) March 30, 2012
Cotchery has played seven years in the NFL, catching 374 passes for 4751 yards and 20 touchdowns. Here is a look at his stats from the 2011 season, when he played mostly in a reserve role with the Pittsburgh Steelers:
|Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
Once-great wide receiver Torry Holt is expected to sign a one-year contract with the St. Louis Rams before retiring the next day, according to Tony Softli of ESPN Radio. The move will allow Holt, one of the best wide receivers in recent memory, to retire with the team that he spent nearly his entire career with.
Drafted by the Rams with the sixth overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, Holt quickly established himself as one of the best wideouts in the entire sport. His breakout came in 2000, his second season with the team, as the Rams suddenly turned into "The Greatest Show on Turf."
During that 2000 season, Holt caught 82 catches for a league-leading 1635 yards and six touchdowns as a 24-year-old. Over an eight-year period spanning from 2000 through 2007, Holt averaged 94 catches, 1384 receiving yards and eight touchdowns per season, numbers that clearly reflect how good he was.
But following some decline during the 2008 season, Holt left the Rams to join the Jacksonville Jaguars for the 2009 season. Starting 12 of the 15 games he appeared in for Jacksonville, Holt caught 51 balls for 722 yards but failed to score a single touchdown. He hasn't played in the NFL since retiring following that season.
According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Rams have acquired two new weapons for QB Sam Bradford and the Rams' offense. On Monday afternoon, the Rams came to terms with WR Steve Smith (not the same player as WR Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers) and TE Matthew Mulligan:
Rams agree to terms with WR Steve Smith of Philadelphia and TE Matthew Mulligan of New York Jets.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 26, 2012
Smith joins the team after five seasons split between the New York Giants and, most recently, the Philadelphia Eagles. With 231 career receptions, Smith has acrued 2510 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last five years. Playing in 9 games in 2011, Smith caught 11 passes for only 124 yards, but the USC product did manage a 1220-yard, 7-touchdown season in 2009 with the Giants.
Mulligan, who earned some starting playing time in 2011 with the New York Jets, has only 6 career receptions for 60 yards, but the 27-year-old Maine graduate brings exceptional size to the Rams' offensive line and receiving corps.
RB Marion Barber retires. One final run out of bounds.— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) March 23, 2012
Barber played in the NFL for seven years and was turning only 29 in 2012. The Bears were expected to release Barber and save $2 million against their cap, but his sudden retirement has done the deed for them anyway.
The Rams presumably would have brought Barber in to serve as RB Steven Jackson's backup in case any of Jackson's lingering injury issues resurfaced in 2012.
Believe it or not, I've already heard the Rams and Eagles as possible landing spots for Marion Barber. But he has to get released first.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) March 23, 2012
Last year, the Rams got 15 starts out of their star RB Steven Jackson, the third straight season of 15 or more starts. But the soon-to-be 29-year-old running back has had a number of injury problems in his career.
New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was hired not long ago after being fired from the head coaching gig with the St. Louis Rams, is a possibility to replace the suspended Sean Payton as head coach of the Saints, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.
For the past three seasons, Spagnuolo was the head coach of St. Louis, but he failed to bring success to the Rams after bringing hope with an impressive run late in the 2010 season. The Rams couldn't carry that success over to 2011, though, stumbling badly as injuries limited key players like quarterback Sam Bradford.
Replacing Payton would likely be a tall task given the high expectations that were bestowed on this New Orleans team before the NFL levied major consequences on the organization for the bounty system scandal. Payton has been suspended by the league for a year, and it's unclear what his long-term status is with the Saints at this point.
According to Pro Football Talk, five free agents visited the St. Louis Rams on Thursday, and one of them -- offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka -- agreed to terms on a contract.
According to Jim Thomas, Ojinnaka and the Rams agreed on a one-year deal.
That was quick. Offensive tackle Quinn Ojinnaka, formerly of the Colts, has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Rams.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 22, 2012
Ojinnaka is a six-year NFL veteran who spent the 2011 season with the Indianapolis Colts.
Recently hired St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher discussed the recent indefinite suspension of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams by the NFL on Wednesday, noting that the team never would have hired Williams if it was aware of the impending situation.
Jason La Canfora of NFL.com says that Fisher was surprised by the ruling, which may keep Williams out of the NFL permanantly. Fisher also said that he's not ready to announce a replacement for Williams yet as he tries to bring the Rams back to relevance.
Fisher also said that Williams was shocked and remorseful, but that the organization will move on, according to Evan Silva of NBC Sports. Williams was suspending by the NFL on Wednesday for orchestrating a bounty program with the New Orleans Saints, who were hit with major punishments by the league as a result of the infraction.
The St. Louis Rams have an opening at defensive coordinator, at least for the time being. The NFL announced today the penalties related to the New Orleans Saints' bounty system, and while the news is much, much worse for the Saints, it's not too good for the Rams, either. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely, per league source.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 21, 2012
It has been widely expected that Williams would receive the harshest penalty of any person involved in the bounty program, and if that holds true, it will be a long time before he's on the Rams sideline, if he ever even makes it there. Williams, along with head coach Sean Payton, will be banned for the entire 2012 season, though Williams' suspension, at commissioner Roger Goodell's discretion, may be extended.
Here's the NFL's official statement on Williams:
Former Saints (and current St. Louis Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely from the NFL, effective immediately. Commissioner Goodell will review Coach Williams' status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether to reinstate him, and, if so, on what terms. Commissioner Goodell said he will give close attention to the extent to which Coach Williams cooperates with the NFL in any further proceedings.
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:
The St. Louis Rams are heading into the 2012 NFL Draft with plenty of high picks, but they also have plenty of needs to fill. The offensive line is a particularly important area that requires an upgrade, but perhaps putting rookie pass protectors in front of Sam Bradford isn't the best plan. The Rams had looked into signing former Panthers offensive guard Travelle Wharton, but he recently got snatched up by the Cincinnati Bengals with a three-year, $10M deal.
Former Packers center Scott Wells did join the mix in St. Louis, but the needs at guard necessitate additional moves. Over at Turf Show Times, SB Nation's Rams blog, there is discussion of thinking outside the box and targeting young restricted free agents to sign to competitive offer sheets. Here is the meat of that analysis:
In particular, there are two young OG's that the Buffalo Bills currently have on a RFA tender. They are Kraig Urbik and Chad Rinehart. Both are younger guys, at 26 years old, but both are incredibly underrated and just coming into their primes.
According to our friends at Pro Football Focus (@ProFootballFocus for you twitter heads), both Urbik and Rinehart were among the top 10 guards (with at least 200 snaps) in pass blocking efficiency (FYI new center Scott Wells was 3rd among C's). In fact, Urbik ranked #1 and Rinehart #4. Combined, Urbik and Rinehart allowed only 12 pressures in 785 snaps. That information can be found here.
I spoke a bit with Pro Football Focus today about the OG's, and was informed that it would take a 3rd rounder for either guard. Buffalo may not be able to keep both of them.
Most people say the game is won in the trenches, so be sure to follow these under-the-radar moves closely.
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.
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 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:
The NFC West quarterback situation just got a little more certain: The Seattle Seahawks have signed their second young quarterback in as many years, spurning the Peyton Manning contest in favor of a three-year deal for Matt Flynn, the backup darling of 2012 NFL free agency. The former Packers backup, 27 next year, has gone 82-for-132 for 1015 yards, nine touchdowns, and five interceptions in a four-year career that’s seen him manage just two starts. He’ll make a much better lead-foil for the St. Louis Rams’ rivals than Tarvaris Jackson a year before.
The other floating pieces of the NFC West’s quarterback picture remain hazy, thanks to the San Francisco 49ers—erstwhile starter Alex Smith was supposed to be considering the Seahawks at the same time, while Peyton Manning continues to judge between several enormous offers.
More NFC West quarterback coverage hand-picked from SB Nation St. Louis:
When the St. Louis Rams traded the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins for three first round picks, the Rams gave starting quarterback Sam Bradford a vote of confidence. However, St. Louis is still in the market for a QB to backup Bradford, and today the Florida Times-Union reports former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard is expected to make a visit to the Rams in the coming days.
Garrard is visiting the Dolphins on Monday and will reportedly likely make St. Louis his next stop.
Garrard did not play in 2011 after surprisingly getting cut by the Jaguars in training camp last season. From Jacksonville.com, here's the latest update on the quarterback's health.
Garrard had surgery to repair a herniate disc in October after severe pain in his legs related to the injury. He visited with the Dolphins before having the surgery -- before he even knew he needed the surgery. Garrard was scheduled to visit with Oakland in the fall and canceled the visit because of his need for surgery.
The Seattle Seahawks have been peripheral contenders in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, and NFL rumors of late had been connecting them with Matt Flynn, the Green Bay Packers' erstwhile backup quarterback and this year's winner of the Kevin Kolb/Matt Schaub award for backup quarterbacks (whose names usually rhyme) who go on to relative fortune in free agency after a small sample size.
But it looks like the Seahawks will do without Air-All Flynn—they didn't offer him a contract on his visit over the weekend, so if they're going to replace Tarvaris Jackson it's going to have to be Peyton Manning or some less-trendy backup quarterback turned top free agent.
As for Flynn, he seems likelier than not to take his talent to South Beach, where the Miami Dolphins are offering a multi-year deal and a binding agreement to assassinate any journalist who makes a LeBron joke. Myself included.
More NFC West quarterback scouting from your nervous correspondents at SB Nation St. Louis:
According to Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network, the New England Patriots have reached a deal with free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, reuniting the former Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams wide receiver with the former Broncos and Rams coach, Josh McDaniels:
In a 2011 season split with both the Rams and Broncos, Lloyd caught 70 passes for 966 yards and 5 touchdowns. Lloyd led the league in 2010 with 1448 receiving yards, his last full season in Josh McDaniel's offense.
The Rams traded for Lloyd during the 2011 NFL season, but with the departure of McDaniel's following the season's end, many anticipated Lloyd would follow him.
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:
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:
Offensive guard Travelle Wharton (Carolina) signs with Bengals; visited Rams Park Thursday and Friday.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 17, 2012
The St. Louis Rams have signed free agent defensive end Kendal Langford to a four-year, $24 million deal with $12 million in guarantees, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Langford is a 26-year old former third-round pick -- No. 66 overall in the 2008 NFL Draft -- by the Miami Dolphins and a four-year pro who recorded 15 solo tackles, five assists and one forced fumble in 12 starts with Miami last season. He only has 7.5 sacks in 54 career starts, but clearly Jeff Fisher and Les Snead saw something they liked.
Former Dolphins DE Kendall Langford signs with the Rams. 4yrs, $24M, $12M guaranteed.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2012
The Rams had been in the market for a defensive end to play opposite Chris Long since the beginning of 2012 NFL Free Agency, and talked with Tennessee Titans DE Jason Jones earlier in the week, and it seems they still may be interested in adding Jones to the mix, despite the substantial sum sent Langford's way. This according to Howard Balzer of 101sports.com
Rams source confirmed Kendall Langford has agreed to terms. Still tying to sign Jason Jones.— Howard Balzer (@HBalzer721) March 17, 2012
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:
The St. Louis Rams have cash to spend and holes to fill this offseason, and one of those areas in need of improvement is the offensive line. The Rams took a step toward improving that situation by inking free agent center Scott Wells to a contract on Friday afternoon.
Rams agreed to terms with former Packers free agent center Scott Wells.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2012
Wells has spent eight seasons in the NFL, all of them with the Green Bay Packers, and he is coming off a season in which he earned Pro Bowl honors. He has started 100 games over the course of his career.
Yes, Denver free agent QB Brady Quinn was at Rams Park yesterday. He threw to Philly free agent WR Steve Smith. Quinn is with Jets today.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 16, 2012
Quinn originally entered the NFL as a first round draft pick in 2007 NFL Draft. Playing his first three NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Quinn found himself buried in the depth charts behind QB Derek Anderson and was ineffective during his 12 starts in that span. In 2010, we the Browns traded him to the Broncos, and he has not appeared in a game since then.
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:
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:
Kendall Langford is headed to St. Louis after his visit with Cincy today.— Orlando Alzugaray (@BigOShow) March 15, 2012
According to Evan Silva of NBC Sports, the versatile Langford could in fact replace FB Jason Jones as well as taking snaps along the defensive line.
The 25-year-old Langford has played all four of his NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins, collected 7.5 sacks while started 54 games. The Hampton graduate first entered the NFL in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft.
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 49ers—who 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:
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:
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.
The St. Louis Rams have a deal in place with free agent cornerback Cortland Finnegan, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. The deal is worth $50 million over five years, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Finnegan, 28, was considered one of the top cornerbacks on the market after spending the first six years of his career playing for the Tennessee Titans. Going to St. Louis reunites him with new Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who was the head coach in Tennessee earlier in the cornerback's career.
Since 2007, Finnegan only missed three games for the Titans, starting the other 77 games. In 2011, he started all 16 games, recording 58 tackles, one sack and one interception. Finnegan made the Pro Bowl with Tennessee in 2008, and he had five interceptions apiece over the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
The St. Louis Rams are beginning the process of speaking with potential free agent acquisitions, and the team has a lot of money to spend after some recent cuts. According to Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch, the Rams are attempting to set up a meeting with wide receiver Robert Meachem, who is already set to visit Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Rams trying to bring in WR Robert Meachem on Wednesday. Meachem already visiting Buffalo tonight.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 13, 2012
Robert Meachem has spent the last four seasons with New Orleans, and he's had over 600 yards receiving in each of the last three seasons.
The free agency period is underway in the NFL, and the St. Louis Rams have plenty of cap room for some new acquisitions. One of the free agents with whom they will visit is Titans defensive lineman Jason Jones.
Tennessee free agent defensive lineman Jason Jones to visit Rams tonight.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 13, 2012
Jones, who has spent the last four seasons with Tennessee, started 13 games in 2011 and picked up three sacks during the season. His career high for sacks in a season is five, which he accomplished at the end position back in 2008. More recently he had been moved to defensive tackle by the Titans.
Free-agent CB Cortland Finnegan scheduled to visit Rams on Wednesday. Finnegan could rejoin Jeff Fisher.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2012
Finnegan played for Jeff Fisher from 2006 through 2010, when Fisher was fired from his position as the Tennesse Titans' head coach. The 28-year-old corner back has missed only 3 games in his whole career, collecting 14 career interceptions and 389 career tackles*.
*Tackles are not an official NFL statistic. Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.
Hearing one of Rams targets in free agency is 49ers CB Carlos Rogers— Howard Balzer (@HBalzer721) March 13, 2012
Rogers enters his age-31 season with a career 14 interceptions and a 2011 Pro Bowl appearance. The seven-year NFL veteran out of Auburn played his first six seasons with the Washington Redskins before joining the 49ers last year.
For the first time in his career, Rogers started all 16 games in 2011 and tied the team lead with 6 interceptions. Given San Francisco's recent signing of CB Perrish Cox, Rogers may be en route to a new home team.
The St. Louis Rams are jumping into 2012 NFL free agency with over $30 million in cap space, so where might they look to improve the team prior to the NFL Draft? When the money starts to fly around on Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT, the Rams will be looking to fill plenty of different needs. Brandon Lloyd may be departing to reunite with Josh McDaniels on the New England Patriots, so getting Sam Bradford is certainly a top priority. A leaky defensive secondary and an unbalance defensive line are also problems, so Les Snead and Jeff Fisher will no doubt be looking there as well.
Ryan Van Bibber of SB Nation looked at the top NFL free agents and some potential destinations for each. Three names appeared in connection with the Rams: wide receiver Josh Morgan, defensive end Jason Jones and cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Here is what he had to say about those three players:
Jason Jones - Just 26, Jones was quietly one of the best three-technique pass rushers in the game. Then the Titans moved him to the outside in 2011, where his play suffered.
Potential destinations: Philadelphia, St. Louis
Cortland Finnegan - Another corner due for a big pay day, the Rams and new head coach Jeff Fisher will be interested in a reunion after cutting the team's best cornerback, Ron Bartell, on Monday. Finnegan is capable of playing in the slot as well as on the outside.
Potential destinations: St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Dallas
The St. Louis Rams have a very fluid situation at wide receiver heading into the 2012 NFL free agency period, as unrestricted free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd has been repeatedly linked to Josh McDaniels and the New England Patriots, but now another name might be added to the confusion. The Rams recently tendered restricted free agent wide receiver Danny Amendola at the second-round level, but Tom Curran of Comcast Sports New England suggests the Patriots could pursue Amendola and sign him to an offer sheet.
As a restricted free agent, any team in the NFL can sign Amendola to an offer sheet, but the Rams would have the right to match the offer. If St. Louis elected to let the 26-year old wide receiver leave via an offer sheet deal, they would receive a second round pick as compensation from the successful bidder.
SB Nation's Rams blog, Turf Show Times, recently noted that the team has around $30 million in cap space, so St. Louis could be a force once NFL free agency officially begins at 3:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday.
The St. Louis Rams have started to clear cap space by making cuts, and on Monday the team parted ways with center Jason Brown as well as defensive tackles Justin Bannan and Fred Robbins. Those cuts will save the team nearly $10 million dollars.
Later in the afternoon, word came that the team would release defensive back Ron Bartell and defensive end James Hall as well. According to the Post-Dispatch, these moves will save an additional $9.25 million.
Releasing Bartell frees up $6.25 million in cap space; releasing Hall frees up $3 million.
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola only played one game and only had five catches in the 2011 season, but that hasn't stopped St. Louis from valuing the receiver moving forward. The Rams announced today that Amendola will be tendered at a second round level as a restricted free agent.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola has been informed by the Rams that he will be tendered at a second-round level as a restricted free agent. Restricted free agents are players with three years NFL experience and expired contracts.
Amendola caught 85 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns in 2010, his second season. Amendola suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 1 of last season.
The St. Louis Rams and free-agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd could still return to the team for 2012 and beyond, but he has also expressed an interest in following Josh McDaniels and his agent (Tom Condon) has reached out to the media regarding a potential move to the New England Patriots. Lloyd had his best years with McDaniels as his offensive coordinator, and he took the time to speak with Tom Curran of CSNNE.com about a potential reunion:
"Very interested. And like I said earlier, I admire Coach Bill (Belichick), I admire Tom Brady, I admire how they run things over there. For any receiver to be considered to come in and play on the New England Patriots is gonna be excited just because of the history of success"
Lloyd is slated to become a free agent on March 13, and he would leave a big void on the perimeter of the offense if he left. Lloyd led the Rams with 51 receptions for 683 yards and five touchdowns despite only playing in 11 games for St. Louis during the 2011 season.
Brandon Lloyd excelled as a member of the St. Louis Rams after being acquired via the the Broncoes after playing four games in Denver. The Rams are always looking to surround young quarterback Sam Bradford with more weapons, so it stands to reason St. Louis would love to keep Lloyd in the fold. But after announcing they would not use the franchise tag on the Illinois Fighting Illini product, St. Louis could have some competition for Lloyd's services.
After all, would you rather play for the lowly Rams or Bill Belichick's high-powered New England Patriots?
As much as the Rams would like to retain Brandon Lloyd -- and negotiations have begun -- the lure of success in New England will likely be too much. Lloyd has said publicly how much he enjoys playing in the system of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. If Lloyd isn't in a Patriots uniform in 2012, it'd be a surprise. Verdict: Go.
The St. Louis Rams will not use the franchise tag this offseason, according to NBC Sports. The Rams, already embroiled in a scandal with the Gregg Williams bounty system news, have chosen to tread lightly in the free agent market.
The Rams have a number of potential free agency targets, such as WR Brandon Lloyd (article) -- who was considered a possible franchise tag candidate -- and DT Albert Haynesworth (article). Instead of forcing Lloyd or any other Rams to stay, it appears the new management is more interested in selling potential free agents on the notion that the team can have a quick rebuild under new head coach Jeff Fisher.
St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission released a statement on Thursday that their $124 million plan to renovate the Edward Jones Dome was rejected by the St. Louis Rams. The CVC originally presented their plan on Feb. 1 -- which included the addition of more club seats and suites to boost revenue and a proposal that the Rams contribute upwards of $62 million for renovations -- but the team rejected it and now intends to submit its own plan for Dome renovations by the new May 1 deadline.
After the Rams put forth their counter-proposal, the CVC will have until June 15 to either accept or reject it. If the parties cannot reach an agreement by June 15, the issue will be handled through arbitration. The whole situation stems from a clause in the stadium lease that would allow the Rams to opt out in 2015 if the Edward Jones Dome is not deemed to be a "first-tier" facility among the top eight stadiums in the NFL. The proposals by both parties are aimed at satisfying that clause in the lease.
The stadium negotiations are playing out against an interesting backdrop.
- A deal to move one Rams' home game in each of the next three seasons to London required some negotiations to avoid legal problems with the lease. The deal with the CVC only covers the 2012 London game.
- Kroenke is one of seven finalists to purchase the Los Angeles Dogers. Many see his involvement for the MLB franchise as an indicator that he does plan to move the Rams to LA. Owning the Rams in St. Louis while owning the Dodgers in LA would put him in violation of the NFL's cross-ownership rule.
- Kroenke's real estate company, THF Realty, is partnering with hotelier Bob O'Loughlin for the redevelopment of Union Station in downtown St. Louis. O'Loughlin is also the chairman of the CVC and the lead negotiator in the Dome talks.
- The city is also ready to study getting rid of the one-mile elevated stretch of I-70, the part that runs right by the Edward Jones Dome. Any resulting actions taken as a result of that study could factor into the Dome's future.
The St. Louis Rams and free-agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd haven't exactly been on the same page since the end of the 2011 season, but there are clear signs Lloyd hasn't foreclosed the option of returning to St. Louis next season. The talented WR expressed an interest in following Josh McDaniels at the end of the regular season, and his agent (Tom Condon) has reached out to the media to open the door for the New England Patriots to make their move, but that doesn't mean he the Rams are out of consideration.
Lloyd hits free agency on March 13, but SB Nation's Rams blog, Turf Show Times, spoke with Rams COO Kevin Demoff, who confirmed both parties are planning to continue talks.
"We had initial discussions in Indianapolis," Rams COO Kevin Demoff told TST. "We plan to continue talking."
Lloyd led the Rams with 51 receptions for 683 yards and five touchdowns despite only playing in 11 games for the team, and if he returns it would free up the organization to fill other pressing needs in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Free-agent defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth has bounced around the NFL since dominating the league during his last go around with Jeff Fisher in Tennessee, but now Gregg Rosenthal of ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that Fisher and the Rams have discussed signing the talented malcontent in the off-season. Haynesworth has worn out his welcome with the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to his poor work ethic and lack of good judgment.
After signing a massive free-agent deal with the Washington Redskins several years ago and banking $35.6 million in guaranteed money while underwhelming with his play on the field, the team traded him for a fifth-round draft pick to the New England Patriots back in July of 2011. He under-performed during the first six weeks of the season, and the Patriots promptly cut ties with the former first-round pick, who then finished out the season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There is no doubt that Haynesworth's biggest moments in his NFL career came during his time with Jeff Fisher and Tennessee, and it's unlikely that many other NFL teams would be willing to outbid the Rams based on the hope that he could suddenly turn it around somewhere else. If St. Louis is serious about adding the defensive tackle, they will likely have priority, and the team clearly needs a talent upgrade in the middle of the defensive line.
Monday is the first day that NFL teams can use their franchise tags, and while the Rams may have a decision or two of their own to make, they also may be keeping an eye on players on other teams that may or may not get tagged. Turf Show Times speculated over the weekend that if Tennessee Titans CB Cortland Finnegan isn't tagged, that he may be targeted by Jeff Fisher— who coached Finnegan in Tennessee— and the Rams, who have a need at corner.
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.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Shawntae Spencer had trouble cracking into the team's cornerback rotation in 2012, and according to CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, the team is expected to give Spencer permission to seek a trade.
Spencer, 30, an eight-year veteran, does not appear to fit into the 49ers' plans after he ended the season as the No. 5 cornerback. Spencer did not suit up for either of the 49ers' two playoff games as one of the team's active 46 players.
Spencer is scheduled to make $3.3 million, including a $100,000 workout bonus, a sum of money the 49ers do not appear likely to commit to him in 2012.
St. Louis Rams free-agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd has expressed an interest in following Josh McDaniels, and now his agent Tom Condon has reached out to the media and open the door for the New England Patriots to make their move. Condon's agency, CAA Sports, has had a rocky relationship with the Patriots organization since a 2004 rookie contract dispute involving tight end Ben Watson, but Condon recently spoke with the Boston Herald and said that episode is in the past:
"Both sides know how this works. If they [the Patriots] have an interest they call up and tell you when free agency starts or they meet you at the combine or whenever. We both know what Brandon is. He's a smart, explosive receiver. He's a player who is going to get offers. As I told him last night, if he wants to go to the team that pays him the most money, wonderful. If he wants to go to a team that pays him less but where he feels there's better opportunity for success, wonderful. He'll make that decision. He'd like to be with Josh. He'd also like to get paid. I think he'll be a player teams will be interested in."
If Lloyd departs, the Rams will have to consider whether to replace his production via free agency or in the 2012 NFL Draft, where Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver Justin Blackmon is expected to be available for the No. 2 overall pick.
St. Louis Rams WR Nick Miller made his entry into "How Not to Impress Your New Head Coach" on Wednesday morning, getting suspended by the NFL for four games next season after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd became an effective weapon in St. Louis Rams' passing offense after joining the team in a mid-season trade, but Sam Bradford may have to find a new weapon for next season. Lloyd is an unrestricted free agent, and has expressed a desire to follow former Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who joined the staff of the New England Patriots for the playoffs after being let go by St. Louis.
Lloyd led the Rams with 51 receptions for 683 yards and five touchdowns despite only playing in 11 games for the team. He recently signed on with a new agent, Tom Condon of CAA, but the Patriots have not worked well in negotiations with Condon in the past. Although Condon's presence may complicate the matter, here is what Lloyd had to say to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about his pending unrestricted free agency back in December:
I'm tied to McDaniels. He uses me differently than other offensive coordinators used me in my entire career. He uses me as an every-play receiver. The short game, mid-range game, gimmick passes, deep balls. I do everything in this offense as opposed to other coordinators who would just run me off as the deep guy; run me off into double coverage and then say I'm not open. So I really like how Josh uses me within the offense. I'm extremely comfortable in the offense.
McDaniels returned praise on that same day, saying he has grown closer to Lloyd than other players he has worked with and enjoys coaching with him because he plays hard and gives the team a chance to win. If Lloyd leaves do the Rams target Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon in the 2012 NFL Draft? Do the Rams pony up the money to keep Lloyd despite his previous issues with staying motivated on the field? Stay tuned for updates as the free agency action kicks off.
The St. Louis Rams are a team in flux from the top down, and they are tied with the New York Giants for the most unrestricted free agents of any franchise in the NFL with 21.
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