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    Jim Thomas Live

    Jim Thomas LiveBy Jim ThomasTuesday, March 4, 2008 09:00 PM CST

    Steve: hey jim, thanks for sticking with us and giving us this forum during free agency and the draft. with the rams missing out on pretty much everyone and perhaps overpaying for a kicker, do you still think players will go where the money is? i've said all along...very few players want to come to st. louis and very few want to play for a losing team. baltimore was rated as the least desirable city to play in, st. louis number 2. hopefully the draft is more productive. good thing we freed up all of that money cutting bruce so we can overpay for mediocre free agents.

    Jim Thomas: Well, I too would've liked to see the Rams more active in free agency. But I wouldn't call Brown and Bell mediocre players. Plus, keep in mind, the Rams need some of this money to sign Atogwe and Jackson to long-term deals.

    MItch from San Diego: Hi JIm,
    Jacob Bell? Please. Another undersized projection. The last time I looked LenDale White was getting stuffed and Vince Young was running for his life.

    Jim Thomas: Last time I looked, the Titans finished the season 10-6 and allowed 30 sacks. The Rams finished 3-13 and allowed 48 sacks.

    Bryan: Any word if the Rams are working on a trade to bring in Roy Williams, or possibly even Chad Johnson? Also are the Rams any closer to signing Bell and a CB?

    Jim Thomas: Don't know about any trades for Williams and Johnson. As you now know, Bell is now a Ram. The cornerback search continues. The Rams had Drayton Florence scheduled for Sunday, he signed instead with Jacksonville where he's from. They also were trying to get Jacques Reeves in, instead he signed with Houston.

    Thad: I don't know the specifics, but a friend of mine who runs a Steeler fan website and knows everything about the salary cap says that there's a special provision where a team can claim certain incentives if they are not earned in a year. He said there are restrictions on them, like how probable they are to be received. Zygmunt has been heralded in the past for his cap manuevering, although it sure doesn't seem like he has done a good job in recent years, otherwise they wouldn't have to be dumping all these salaries now. My question is, do the Rams ever utilize this rule, where they roll over cap space? I believe Minnesota typically does this and Philadelphia too. I would assume that he'd be aware of this rule, but maybe there's a logical reason if they don't use it. Any info on this?

    Jim Thomas: I'm sure Jay is aware of this rule, and the Rams have probably used it in the past.

    Brian from Las Vegas: Jim,
    Are you hearing anything about a possible Rams/Lions trade for Roy Williams? By the way, the Lions really got the best of the Rams in last years trade, James Hall for a 5th round pick, and he only lasts one year.

    Jim Thomas: I haven't heard anything about such a trade. I know Mike Martz doesn't think much of Williams. But it could be something that develops as we get closer to the draft.
    As for Hall, I wouldn't catergorize a 5th rounder as giving up the farm. But there's no doubt Hall was a big disappointment. (Granted he was bothered by a nagging injury over the second half of the season, but 2 1/2 sacks for $3 million _ which is what Hall made last year _ isn't exacly much bang for the buck.

    JustMe: Have you or anyone at the Post-Dispatch been able to get Torry Holt's reaction to the release of Isaac Bruce? And is it really true that Bruce found out about his release via the television while awaiting a callback from the Rams(according to Balzer on Sirius NFL Radio)?
    Is Deangelo Hall an option for the Rams?
    If the Rams draft Glenn Dorsey, what happens to Carriker?

    Jim Thomas: I haven't talked to Torry directly. But I've talked to someone who's talked to him. He was shocked.
    Several days before Feb. 29, Scott Linehan told Bruce, if we can't re-do your contract, you're going to be cut. Plain and simple. So I don't think it was a surprise to Isaac.

    Hall _ Sure he'd be an option if the Falcons are serious about trading him.
    If Dorsey's a Ram _ Dorsey and Carriker are the starting DTs, with Carriker sliding out to end on some run downs. That would leave Glover (with reduced snaps, I'm sure) and Clifton Ryan as the backups, with Claude Wroten very much on the bubble.

    Frank Picone: Do you know the direction the Rams are going to go in at the WR position, which looks to be a large hole now with Bruce gone and the awful year Bennett had numbers and injury wise. Would Javon Walker be a possibility even though he still hasn't recovered fully from his knee injury. He seems like a guy that could rebound and he probably won't break the bank.

    Jim Thomas: Walker is a guy whom the Rams would be interested in. But he's headed to Oakland for his first visit _ he's been out of the country. And as we've seen the last couple of years in free agency, the vast majority of players in the first week of free agency, sign with the first team they visit.

    YoMurphy: As of Monday morning, we have not signed Bell yet. Do we really need to throw money at an undersized free agent right now, whose best asset apparently is being athletic enough to recover after he initially gets blown up at the line of scrimmage? We could get a huge body on the cheap in the draft who is younger than 27 could we not? (after-all, it is being reported that Bell's age is one of his biggest assets) Why not let Devaney use his skills to target a value pick at guard and draft him in the 4th-6th round?

    Also, if you saw another team in the NFL with cap space problems, and coming off of a 3-13 season set a record for the most money ever given to a kicker... what would your impression be of that organization? Add to that the fact that every other team in the league has signed either two or three players in free agency, and the Rams have not even received VISITS from these same players, despite having highly publicized interest in them. Should the Rams feel like the shy ugly girl who doesn't get invited to the prom or what?

    Jim Thomas: Because of all the cap space, there's a lot of "records" being set for "highest paid" player at this or that position.
    Bell is a pretty good player, who will be an upgrade over Setterstrom at LG. The Rams have cleared up sufficient cap space. And coming off a 3-13 season, with a head coach squarely on the hot seat, I'm sure they're not exactly the destination capital of free agency.

    Faris Chehabi: I have been thinking about the Rams in 2008 and I think what I came up with makes perfect sense. I say that we switch to a 3-4 defense and put Carriker and Little at the ends and Glover in the middle which means we don't draft Chris Long. Then for our linebackers we add Calvin Pace who is great in the 3-4 and won't be too expensive then Witherspoon beside him, sign Dan Morgan which won't be expensive at all and put him in the middle next to Witherspoon, and at the end put Tinoisomia. That defense would be so good and we would get many sacks. Then for the draft, we get Jake Long. We also would sign Jacob Bell who won't be that much money. Then that offensive line would be very good with Pace and Long at tackle. Then 2nd round maybe you draft Sam Baker at center or just try out the many options we have. We can also draft a Linebacker with our 2nd round. It makes perfect sense to me. What do you think?

    Jim Thomas: As you saw, Pace and Jacob Bell were pretty expensive. And Glover is too small to play nose tackle in the 3-4. The Rams will still incorporate the 3-4 into their defensive package, as they did last season.

    Sam: Who do you think Miami is going to take with the #1 pick? Any real possibility that they trade down?

    Jim Thomas: Hard to say. I think you can make a case for either of the Longs, Dorsey, and even McFadden. When he was with the Jets, Parcells traded out of the No. 1 spot before the '97 draft _ with the Rams, who took Orlando Pace.

    james mcmorise: do u have any idea what the rams are going to do i love them but are they tryiong to lose fans why cant we sign anyone

    Jim Thomas: I think their No. 1 goal in free agency was to come up with some help on the interior of the o-line. They signed LG Jacob Bell, and are still looking at possible centers. They tried to get in on Bernard Berrian at WR, but as you saw he ended up with Minnesota. I believe they have some interest in Javon Walker, but he's reportedly making his first trip to Oakland. They'd like to add a veteran corner, don't really like the options left at corner, and have expressed at least initial interest (along with about 15 other teams) in a possible trade with Philadelphia for Lito Sheppard.

    Faris Chehabi: Why have the 3-13 Rams gotten one player in free agency, a kicker. It doesn't seem like we have much interest in players that we need. We're letting players slip through the cracks without even talking to them. Lance Briggs is a 4-3 player and the Rams choose not to speak with him. Randall Gay just signed with the Saints for only 4 years 18 million. Justin Smith went to our rival team the *****. We really need to step it up and get some players that we desperately need. We need to close off the deal with Jacob Bell that will improve out line. Also, what is the chances that the Rams will trade the pick their pick to maybe the Cowboys? Does Billy Devaney like to trade his picks or stay with what he has? Thanks.

    Jim Thomas: The Rams don't see linebacker as an area of need. They didn't like Randall Gay as an option at corner. Is Justin Smith really worth $45 million after a 2-sack season in '07. The Cowboys picks are just too low to trade down from No. 2. Devaney is open to a trade.

    Sam, Southern Illinois: Do see the rams trading down to gather picks and maybe selecting Vernon Gholston from Ohio State?

    Jim Thomas: If the Rams could trade down to say No. 6 or No. 7, they'd be more than happy to pick Gholston or DT Sedrick Ellis of USC and pick up some extra picks. I think the key is if there's someone willing to trade up to No. 2 (for McFadden?)

    jerry bartels: Hi Jim, once again Thanks for a great column.. Everyone has gone thru the regular names. One guy I've heard some good things about--but no one seems to mention is Eddie Royal. Do know anything about him or have a opinion. I'm guessing from what I read it would be a second round choice or he'd be gone.. Thanks Jerry Bartels

    Jim Thomas: I can't help you on this one. But I'll try to file it away.

    gabriel:jim why is it the rams are so happy in getting backup type players?
    we have money but dont go after anyone

    Jim Thomas: Not sure what you mean here. K Josh Brown is one of the top kickers in the game. G Jacob Bell was widely considered among the top three guards available in the free-agent pool

    JIM: Did the rams even go to Bruce enough to see if he lost his talent or has slipped?

    Jim Thomas: Sure, they went to Bruce enough. The feeling at Rams Park was that Bruce no longer could run past people like he used to; that he got next to no yards after the catch; and that he got knocked down too often trying to get past the line of scrimmage. They agree, however, that Bruce remains very effective on short and intermediate routes.

    gabriel:jim how are you doing once again thank you for this post

    well jim am pissed i think all rams fans are pissed this is how you fix the problem this offseaaon has started off very bad not just because of Isaac Bruce but because of all the great players out there and we havent gone after one of them please tell me it will get better.
    are there any moves coming from the rams that will make fans happy?
    thank you jim.

    Jim Thomas:What a day. After the Jacob Bell news conference at Rams Park (Tues., March 4), I left Rams Park at 11:45 a.m. I got home shortly before 4 p.m. A tractor trailer blocked I-70 for nearly 3 hours. So sorry for the delay.

    I see you sent your question in on the first day of free agency. Since then Jeff Wilkins has retired. Josh Brown has replaced him. Alan Faneca said no thanks to the Rams, and the regrouped by signing Jacob Bell.

    I know it's tough to see these older Rams go, but team management seems intent on "greening" the roster. Only Pace, Little, and Holt are left from the '99 Super Bowl team.

  2. #2
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    Re: Jim Thomas Live

    Why is everyone against Jacob Bell??? I think he was the best available guard for the Rams, even when Faneca was on the market. Please people, Jacob Bell was better than our whole entire line last season and he's going to be a starter this year. And in all honesty, he's going to be one of the best out there for us.

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    Re: Jim Thomas Live

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    Why is everyone against Jacob Bell??? I think he was the best available guard for the Rams, even when Faneca was on the market.
    Because they don't know what they're talking about?

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