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Thread: Inside Slant
The Rams made a move to get younger and hopefully solidify their punting situation when they officially executed an offer sheet April 13 on Miami punter Donnie Jones.
A restricted free agent, Jones was tendered at the $850,000 level, which warrants a seventh-round pick as compensation. The Dolphins have seven days, until April 20, to decide whether to match the offer or take the draft pick.
The five-year offer sheet Jones signed is worth $5.59 million and includes a $1.175 million signing bonus.
Last season, Jones averaged 42.8 yards a punt with a net of 35.7. The year before with the Dolphins, where Rams coach Scott Linehan was the offensive coordinator, Jones averaged 43.5 yards with a net of 39.3.
If the Rams end up with the 26-year-old Jones, he will replace Matt Turk, who will be 37 in June. Turk, an unrestricted free agent, averaged 43.5 yards in 2006 and had a net of 38.3, the seventh-best in the league. Ironically, Jones replaced Turk in Miami in 2005 when Turk had a groin injury and missed the entire season.
The Rams have been trying to re-sign Turk, but have apparently been unwilling to offer more than a one-year contract at the league minimum.
"I'm just a little confused," Turk said, several weeks before the Rams signed Jones to the offer sheet. "Usually after a punter has a year like I had, you expect your team to step up to the plate. ... Teams get a good punter and they usually want to keep 'em."
At the NFL meeting in March, Linehan was asked about some of the frustration Turk was experiencing.
"I've got other things to worry about right now," Linehan said. "I think it's best just to leave that one (alone) for right now."
Asked if Turk was still in the team's plans, Linehan said, "Yeah. He still figures in. We'd love to have him back. It's one of those things where it's got to be the right deal for both. Hopefully, it will get done soon. I don't know what will happen. But we're researching some alternatives."
—With the schedule being released for the 2006 season, the Rams have just one game in prime time. They will host the Steelers in a Dec. 20 Thursday night game on NFL network.
For the first time since 1999, the Rams won't be featured on Sunday or Monday Night Football. They do open the season with two straight home games, against Carolina and San Francisco.
—Trying to find a backup to running back Steven Jackson, the Rams have reportedly expressed some interest in Corey Dillon, who was released by the Patriots.
Visits of draft-eligible players were made by Antonio Pittman (Ohio State), Lorenzo Booker (Florida State), Chris Henry (Arizona), Tony Hunt (Penn State) and Brian Leonard (Rutgers).
—TE Dominique Byrd, arrested in Los Angeles on charges of driving under the influence and being an unlicensed driver, entered a not guilty plea March 28. Next is a pretrial hearing set for April 26.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "To be honest, some of these (players), we really, really like. The rest of them are a mixed bag. There's medical re-checks that we need on some players. And there were pro-day conflicts with some where we're really just getting more information on players." — Coach Scott Linehan on how many of the 33 visits of draft-eligible players the team has a serious interest in selecting.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
1. Defensive tackle: The Rams have been trying to get this right for several years. Jimmy Kennedy was only adequate at nose tackle last season after Ryan Pickett left in free agency for Green Bay. His backup, Jason Fisk, is expected to retire and was only a stopgap anyway. Kennedy doesn't seem cut out to play on the nose, so an upgrade there is necessary.
2. Defensive end: This area was helped with the acquisition of James Hall, but he won't be healthy until training camp because of a shoulder problem and he is 30 years old. Even with a healthy Hall, the Rams have to add more quickness to their pass rush, and the draft this year is deep with quality defensive ends.
3. Wide receiver/cornerback: The front-line players at these positions are fine, but some age is creeping in, especially at wide receiver. The Rams selected cornerback Tye Hill with their first-round pick last season, and it would not be a surprise to see them dip into that area again in the opening round.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
—LB Jamal Brooks made the roster, was cut and then brought back because of injuries. He can contribute on special teams.
—RB Stephen Davis helped the development of Steven Jackson but bad knees make his return unlikely.
—RB Tony Fisher will be coming off a knee injury, but if healthy can provide solid special teams play and a receiving threat on third down.
—DE Brandon Green is a high-motor player who just doesn't have great ability. Might be back if the contract is reasonable.
—LB Isaiah Kacyvenski helped improve special teams coverage, but will probably be looking for more than a one-year, minimum-value contract.
—WR/KR Willie Ponder didn't upgrade the kickoff return game as the team hoped. Still, it might make sense to bring him back unless the Rams know they have someone better.
—LB Raonall Smith proved himself to be a versatile player in situational defenses and on special teams.
—P Matt Turk was consistent all season, and the Rams should ensure that he's back for another year at least.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
—S Dwaine Carpenter (not tendered as RFA) did a decent job on special teams, and could return for lower salary than tender.
—C/G Larry Turner (not tendered as RFA) is a competitor, and might be back at lower salary than tender.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
—LB Brandon Chillar (tendered at $850,000 with 4th-round pick as compensation) was solid as the strong-side starter, and played better than has been given credit for.
—G/T Adam Goldberg (tendered at $850,000 with no compensation) is an excellent swingman to have around, with the ability to play every position on the line.
—TE Aaron Walker (tendered at $850,000 with 5th-round pick as compensation) showed decent blocking ability and will return to compete for backup job again.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
—T/G Todd Steussie: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
—WR Drew Bennett: UFA Titans; $30M/6 yrs, $7.5M SB/$10M guaranteed.
—LB Chris Draft: UFA Panthers; $4.28M/3 yrs, $1.3M SB; 2007 cap: $1.153M.
—DE James Hall (trade Lions).
—S Todd Johnson: UFA Bears; $4M/4 yrs, $700,000 SB.
—DE Trevor Johnson: Waivers Saints.
—TE Randy McMichael: FA Dolphins; $11M/3 yrs, $3M SB; 2007 cap: $2.5M.
—RB Travis Minor: UFA Dolphins; 1 yr, terms unknown.
—CB Mike Rumph: FA; $595,000/1 yr.
—P B.J. Sander: FA; $435,000/1 yr.
—DT Tim Sandidge: Waivers Chiefs.
—CB Lenny Walls: UFA Chiefs; 1 yr, term unknown.
—LB Dexter Coakley (released).
—WR Kevin Curtis: UFA Eagles; $30M/6 yrs, $2.5M SB/$5M RB '07; $1.5M RB '08.
—RB Marshall Faulk (retired).
—CB Travis Fisher: UFA Lions; $2.25M/1 yr, $1.25M SB.
—NT Jason Fisk: UFA; retired.
—WR Shaun McDonald: UFA Lions; $2.8M/2 yrs, $1.5M guaranteed.
—FB Paul Smith: UFA Broncos; $2.55M/3 yrs, $300,000 SB.
—OG Adam Timmerman (released).
Re: Inside Slant
I wasn't aware that we signed another DE, (Trevor Johnson) and looking at his stats I'm wondering why we did. The man doesn't have one career sack.
Re: Inside Slant
so we won't be getting any compensation picks next year?
Re: Inside Slant
I think we might get one or two for Curtis and MacDonald, possibly Stephen Davis if he signs elsewhere.
Re: Inside Slant
We might get a pick for Curtis next year, but I think Drew Bennett will cancel that out.RamsFan16
Re: Inside Slant
Do pickups cancel-out losses?
If so, we might get some indication of what sort of compensation we'd get by comparing the size of both Curtis' and Bennet's contract.