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NFL Lockout Free Agency: Mark Clayton, Rams Have Three Rumor-Packed Days To Negotiate

As the season drew to a close back in 2010 one thing seemed certain about the St. Louis Rams' receiving corps, weak though it was: Mark Clayton would be back on it. Clayton had been Sam Bradford's favorite target since being acquired in an emergency trade following Donnie Avery's season-ending preseason blowout, and after he was lost for the year himself both sides seemed eager to talk and even more eager to say all the right things. Enter the NFL lockout, and month after month of free agency suspended animation.

Since Clayton and the Rams' seemingly inevitable deal the Rams have drafted two wide receivers and a tight end, replaced their offensive coordinator, and heard great things about Donnie Avery, whose 40 times were perhaps the biggest news of the barren post-draft period for Rams fans. All of a sudden the Rams' receivers aren't much more of a sure thing than they were, but they are considerably greater in number. That makes it tough to see where Clayton will fit in.

We'll know soon, of course. NFL free agency this year will be a kind of nightmarish miniaturized version of same, with all the rumors and sure things and left-field-signings coming in one three-day period of exclusive negotiation with a team's free agents. it's going to be wild, whether they sign him or not.