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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Free agency can't provide a quick fix for Rams

    By Jeff Gordon

    Here is a shocker: Free agency did not start the way Rams fans hoped it would.

    Many Rams fans hoped the team would keep receiver Isaac Bruce. But he moved on to San Francisco after refusing to sacrifice his $2 million roster bonus to stay put.

    This marked the end of an era at Rams Park.

    Fans didn’t mind the addition of kicker Josh Brown, although they wondered how a team with so many other needs could spend a record-setting $14.2 million on that position.

    In my regular live Monday chat here at, scores of fans targeted guard Alan Faneca as one of the must-have free agents. We tried to shoot down those expectations, reminding fans that the Rams are coming off a 3-13 season with a head coach in the final year of his contract.

    Faneca was a high-demand guy. And, sure enough, he signed a $40 million deal with the Jets without giving the Rams a visit. Apparently the Rams were willing to pay that freight, but Faneca opted to play in New York.

    “It really was a gut feeling,” agent Rick Smith told the New York Post. “He looked at the entire situation, the Jets looked like a team two years ago that was one of the ascending teams in the league. They had a little blip last year.”

    (The blip was what the Post called a “4-12 nightmare season,” but Faneca still believed the Jets are an emerging program. We’ll see how that plays out.)

    Speedy receiver Bernard Berrian was another player Rams fans wanted. But he went to Minnesota for a $42 million deal, with $16 million of that guaranteed.

    The Vikings cleared $35 million in cap space, so that franchise was in a position to spend, spend, spend. Minnesota also gave safety Madieu Williams a six-year, $33 million contract.

    These big-dollar deals underscored the challenges facing the Rams. Although Jay Zygmunt cleared sufficient cap room to position the Rams to invest in new talent, most other teams had room to spend, too.

    So many would-be free agents never hit the market, as we predicted in this corner of cyberspace. Others, like linebacker Lance Briggs, returned to their teams after testing the waters.

    Those players that did explore the market drew heavy bidding, since free agent supply fell well shot of team demand.

    Jim Thomas reports that the Rams coveted free-agent cornerbacks Drayton Florence and Jacques Reeves. Both signed elsewhere, for inflated money.

    So there will be no magic-wand solutions for the Rams during this offseason. They need to rebuild by finding some value in the remaining free agent pool and by nailing this draft.

    Free-agent offensive lineman Jacob Bell looks like a good target. It appears that he has some upside as a guard and the versatility to fill in at tackle.

    Here is how Scouts Inc. assesses him over at

    “He has experience at tackle, as well, but is best at guard without question. He has lined up at four different spots on the offensive line and does have versatility in that regard. He is a bit on the lean side for his position but has continued to gain strength. He still could use more upper- and lower-body power and bulk, however. Bell is a smart player who goes hard every snap. He is agile, runs well and is a good natural knee-bender. He is a plus athlete who can get out and pull well and hit a moving target at the second level. He moves well laterally and is quick to recover when beaten by quickness. For a lineman, Bell is fast and gets downfield well to spring big plays. He is a very good space player. While Bell has gotten stronger and more powerful, he will never be a mauler and doesn't blow big defensive tackles backwards. This is especially a problem when he allows his pads to get too high when coming out of his stance, which still happens with too much regularity. He also could be more of an aggressive finisher. Bell is an athletic offensive lineman who is coming into his own and is capable of starting at guard for several teams around the league.”

    The Rams have tackle Orlando Pace and guards Richie Incognito and Mark Setterstrom coming back from major surgery, so Bell could really solidify the unit.

    But this team still needs help at wide receiver. And defensive end. And cornerback, linebacker, safety, quarterback . . . well, pretty much everywhere.

    The process has just started and a lot more must be accomplished.

  2. #2
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Free agency can't provide a quick fix for Rams


    Defensive end we can get in the draft. WE NEED IT TO BE ROUND ONE!

    Safety we can get in the draft as well. There are a few that spark my interest
    Wide Receiver...hmmm. I say draft...but we won't be getting a top notch one.

    As for QB, just sign an ok player, if the line stays healthy and Bulger stays healthy, we wont need to play him anyways.

    As for Cornerback and Linebacker...I dunno what we can do here. We need an upgrade for sure, but we have the players.

  3. #3
    keith m. klink Guest

    Re: Free agency can't provide a quick fix for Rams

    THAT IS WHY THE DRAFT TEAM NEEDS TO PULL EVERY PUNCH AND WORK OVERTIME TO SECURE 2 STARTERS at least this year IN THE FIRST 2 PICKS , and 3 backup role players . they need a starting DE and S ready from day one . they need dependable backups in the OT -LB - C .

    QB - i think the rams eill pull the string on TRENT GREEN to be the backup , so maybe a late pick at QB to develope .

    FB - also the option of drafting one , but with the LEONARD experiment i don't know if the rams will do this 2 years in a row . i feel a veteran like TONY RICHARDSON would be a wise pickup if it's a reasonable price.

    CB - drafting one again , i would be for it . it seems the rams were interested in DRAYTON FLORENCE and the CB from DALLAS, JAQUES someone or other. Both are already gone . I like the CB's so far with BROWN - HILL - BARTELL - WADE - BASSEY .

  4. #4
    serkicker32 Guest

    Re: Free agency can't provide a quick fix for Rams

    what about trading for Lito Sheppard?

  5. #5
    moklerman Guest

    Re: Free agency can't provide a quick fix for Rams

    As for QB, just sign an ok player, if the line stays healthy and Bulger stays healthy, we wont need to play him anyways.
    Oh man, stop. I'm gonna piss my pants I'm laughing so hard. You're a riot.

  6. #6
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    Re: Free agency can't provide a quick fix for Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by serkicker32 View Post
    what about trading for Lito Sheppard?
    That would be nice if the Rams pursued him; I hear the Eagles may trade him now that they have Asante Samuel. Since there isn't a whole lot of talent left, I would be content if we pursued Sheppard and Jacob Bell, and then work some magic in the draft. Other than that, most of the talented players are gone and we don't want to pay inflated prices for players, though we could sign some backups. If we got this to work, we could address DE in round 1, WR in round 2 (since we are at the top of the round, some of the better receivers may fall to us), OT/G in round 3, SS round 4, 5 on a C, and 6 on an O/D linemen or other player, and round 7 on a QB.

    Edit: This way we can also git rid of Chavous somehow (such as by trade, etc.)!
    Last edited by prof22693; -03-03-2008 at 08:43 PM.

  7. #7
    Chris58's Avatar
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    Re: Free agency can't provide a quick fix for Rams

    I have steadfastly held that free agency is not the path to long term success, but now that we have signed Brown and Bell, both young players with long term promise, I am feeling better as we coast into the draft. Maybe I am being greedy here but if we were able to land a solid FA center and trade for Shepard, next year starts to show signs of real promise.

  8. #8
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Free agency can't provide a quick fix for Rams

    One slight issue for all those hoping to see us draft a safety that capable of starting, especially in round 4. This year's safety class SUCKS. Majorly. If we really want a new safety, we have to draft in the 2nd round, probably with a slight trade down from being so high in the round, which should be rather easy compared to trading down from #2. I've come to terms, we're playing with Chavous for at least one more year.

    Oh, and thank god for Jeff Gordon being the sound of reason.

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