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Thread: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead / Saffold not returning calls?

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    With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead / Saffold not returning calls?

    With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead
    Posted 3 hours ago
    Nick Wagoner Senior Writer

    Rams coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead couldn’t help but smile Thursday afternoon as they formally announced the addition of prized free agent offensive tackle Jake Long.

    Obviously, Fisher and Snead were more than happy to make it official with a tackle of Long’s credentials and ability but they also did so knowing that his signing now allows them to look forward to the next phase of the offseason process.

    While Fisher said the Rams are going to continue mining through the available free agents – he specifically noted a plethora of talent still available on defense, namely at cornerback and safety – for the most part the Rams work in free agency, at least the deep end of the pool, came when Long signed on the dotted line.

    As Fisher sees it, the Rams made themselves better with three key signings, including Long, tight end Jared Cook and the re-signing of defensive end William Hayes.

    “That was very important for us so when you get an end that is coming off a big year with seven sacks and then Cookie with what he can do and of course Jake now,” Fisher said. “We feel like we have filled some areas where we can now move different directions in the draft and still with free agency.”

    In addition to those three moves, the Rams have also brought back restricted free agent safety Darian Stewart, signed defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo to a contract extension and retained exclusive rights free agent tight end Mike McNeill and offensive lineman Tim Barnes.

    Clearly, the Rams still have holes to fill as they head toward the NFL Draft, which is exactly a month from today and now they can turn their attention to how to approach that as well as what’s left in free agency.

    Getting Long in the fold was of utmost importance considering the Rams’ need for an offensive tackle. In signing him to a four-year deal, the Rams got much more than a four-time Pro Bowl performer, according to Snead.

    “Not only does he give you the physical skills to be able to both pass block and run block in this league, I think that position you have got to be able to have certain intangibles to be a glue so that all five can work in sync,” Snead said. “I find that group very similar to a good basketball team that can pass the ball around and then score when needed. You have got a lot of things going on with the front seven of a defense that try to attack that position group so with the physical skills and the intangibles, I think it’s a nice piece of glue to steady that offensive front.”

    Having Long in the mix should provide some stability to the line and lessen the need for help at the position in the draft and moving forward. Theoretically, the Rams could still use some help at guard with previous starter Robert Turner departing in free agency.

    Likewise, they also have to work on shuffling the line a bit. With Long jumping in at left tackle, Rodger Saffold will likely be asked to shift over to the right side. Fisher said Thursday that he’s been unable to get in touch with Saffold in recent attempts but he remains confident that things will play out OK.

    “Things are going to work out,” Fisher said. “We’re confident they’ll get resolved. We have been trying to reach Rodger and he’s not returning calls right now but we’ll get things settled. Rodger is a big part of our future and a big part of our plans on offense.”

    Considering their current depth on the offensive line, Snead said the addition of Long won’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested in some tackles in the draft, particularly tackles with some positional versatility that could play guard in the early parts of their career.

    “You have two starting tackles anyway,” Snead said. “But sometimes there are times if you liked tackles before we signed Jake and that’s one of the better players on the board, your first thought is ‘OK, can he play guard?’ and then eventually move to tackle like a lot of guys have done. It may lessen the urgency or the desperation but it wouldn’t preclude you from taking a tackle.”

    Ideally, Fisher said the Rams would like to find some more help in free agency. The Rams still need some help at safety, outside linebacker, receiver, running back, guard and cornerback.

    Signing Long chewed up the bulk of the Rams’ remaining cap room as they now sit somewhere with just over $1 million in salary cap space after adding outside free agents and retaining some of their own.

    With an eight-player draft class still to be brought on board and the chance that some more free agents could be brought on or even retained – offensive lineman Chris Williams is one possibility after Turner departed - the Rams will need to clear some cap space to get those moves made.

    That could mean some more cuts such as the release of safety Quintin Mikell and tight end Matthew Mulligan or, more likely, some contract restructuring.

    “There may be a couple here,” Fisher said. “Unfortunately we had to make a few moves with Q and Mully and such but we have got the ability, we have got the support from our owner and we are just going to move forward. There are still some players out there, role players for us that could help us.”

    As for the draft, that will become the team’s primary focus in the coming days. Slated for April 25-27, the Rams hold two first-round picks that they hope to make the most of.

    Snead returned to St. Louis on Wednesday night after making the rounds to various pro days around the country, including a stop at Southern California’s on Wednesday. That part of the process is now over and the Rams can focus on setting up some private on-campus visits/workouts with some players as well as hosting 30 prospects of their choice at ContinuityX Training Center.

    Already, the Rams have welcomed some of the local prospects in the area, including Arkansas Pine-Bluff offensive tackle Terron Armstead, a native of Cahokia (Ill.). They’ll begin welcoming in their top 30 guys in the coming weeks.

    “We’ll actually start draft meetings next week so there may be a few private opportunities from here until the draft but I think the pro days are (over),” Snead said. “I think the (visits) are going to pick up. A lot of those visits will come in this month of April. We’ve had a few local guys come into the building and kind of spaced them out through March. (It’s the) home stretch, we are in the fourth quarter.”


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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    “You have two starting tackles anyway,” Snead said. “But sometimes there are times if you liked tackles before we signed Jake and that’s one of the better players on the board, your first thought is ‘OK, can he play guard?’ and then eventually move to tackle like a lot of guys have done. It may lessen the urgency or the desperation but it wouldn’t preclude you from taking a tackle.”
    Off of the top of my head, this instantly made me think of Kyle Long, Dallas Thomas, maybe Justin Pugh, but first and foremost, D.J. Fluker.

    The Rams spent one of their suite interviews on Fluker, and apparently either had or will have a workout with the Rams as well. Drafting him, moving him inside to guard, and then eventually shifting him outside to tackle if the need arises could be an interesting strategy.

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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    We have been trying to reach Rodger and he’s not returning calls right now but we’ll get things settled. Rodger is a big part of our future and a big part of our plans on offense.”
    “You have two starting tackles anyway,” Snead said. “But sometimes there are times if you liked tackles before we signed Jake and that’s one of the better players on the board, your first thought is ‘OK, can he play guard?’ and then eventually move to tackle like a lot of guys have done. It may lessen the urgency or the desperation but it wouldn’t preclude you from taking a tackle.”
    I wonder if these statements are somehow connected? I like Saffold, but not answering calls, and his agent saying he would probably not be happy about moving to RT, does not give me a lot of confidence for the future. I get the salary/contract aspects of LT over RT, but I'd be much more confident if Saffold's agent had said, "LT, RT, wherever, Roger just wants to do whatever he can for the team".

    We still don't know what Saffold's attitude on changing positions is, but if he does indeed raise a stink, IMO, it would be Barron-like.

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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    Come on, Rodger. Please don't screw this up. Some of us have been waiting an awfully long time ....
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    If a team won their division seven straight times, that would be a NFL record. Now add on that team did it with seven different QB's in seven straight years,that record is unbeatable. To do that feat, you must of had a great Defense. Jack Youngblood was the captain of that defense.

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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    Well its official...there is another Long on the team. Assuming he stays health, its a key piece to the Chess board...however I am starting to notices a few things and perhaps I might be right. Rams have picked up Cook (TE) and now M. Long. Granted the O-line needed some work, but considering that the Rams likely are noticing other moves around the league (New Orleans/Atlanta to name just 2), I wouldn't be surprised that the Rams trade away #16 spot in the draft.

    Atlanta thinks they are close to a SB next season; New Orleans is in a mad dash to re-build their defense. It would seem that perhaps the Rams over all strategy is to continue to address the O-line and move more toward a ball control offense as a means to support the defense at the expense of others sense of urgency to win it all next season.

    Its just a feeling, but again if the Rams where to trade their number 16 spot, looking for value and salary savings, likely the Rams are looking toward more toward the O-line.

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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    We have been trying to reach Rodger and he’s not returning calls right now but we’ll get things settled.
    I don't know how it works in any of your jobs, but if my boss calls me, I'm calling him back.

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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    With Long jumping in at left tackle, Rodger Saffold will likely be asked to shift over to the right side. Fisher said Thursday that he’s been unable to get in touch with Saffold in recent attempts but he remains confident that things will play out OK.

    “Things are going to work out,” Fisher said. “We’re confident they’ll get resolved. We have been trying to reach Rodger and he’s not returning calls right now but we’ll get things settled. Rodger is a big part of our future and a big part of our plans on offense.”
    Well, I'm glad Fishead is, cause this statement makes me anything BUT confident.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    Its an issue, but there are many solutions.

    1. As Nick noted, if a guy like Fluker is willing to start his career at OG, he suddenly becomes prospect on par with Jonathan Cooper, and not far behind Chance Warmack.

    2. Other players who could be there on Day 2, including Kyle Long, Dallas Thomas, Justin Pugh and Brennan Williams, could also come in as an OG/OT "swingman."

    3. Though the team is obviously not going to go public with the idea right now, I would think there is a scenario in which Saffold gets traded. For teams in need of a starting LT who are not in a position to select Joekel, Fisher or Williams, Saffold could be a good option. If it worked out that the Rams get, let's say, a 4th round pick for Saffold and then draft Fluker to replace him, I think that would be okay.

    4. In the end, this could be a non-issue. Maybe Saffold just needs to pout a little about being replaced but will ultimately realize that, as a FA-to-be, he needs to put a smile on his face, work his posterior off in camp, and have a great year at RT.
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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    I honestly do not see where Saffold thinks he has any leverage in this situation. He is in a contract year and has missed significant time the past two seasons. The way I see it he has three options:

    1. Quit being a baby and play his ass off at RT hoping the Rams will be willing to give him a good contract come next season because of it.

    2. Same was 1 but in the hopes another team is willing to give him big money to play LT.

    3. Sit out on a contract year and have no value going into next FA because of his injury history.

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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    I hope this is nothing, Fisher said he has not spoke to him since the trade. He also said he did speak to him about it before the trade. If Saffold makes an issues out of this he's nuts. It's almost expected for an O linemen to move where the teams needs him to play at any time.

    Fisher was on ESPN yesterday and he was talking up all the young prospects on the roster...Joseph Barksdale, Tim Barnes ect.

    I'm not that concerned about Saffold, just don't see the Rams paying him big money next year without him playing all 16 games this year.

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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    II'm not that concerned about Saffold, just don't see the Rams paying him big money next year without him playing all 16 games this year.
    I agree, though I'd take it a step further. I don't see the Rams paying him big money next year, period. My guess is that they're hoping to get a solid year out of him, and then move on with a younger, cheaper player.
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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead

    Saffold has the same agent, Alan Herman@Sportstars, as NYG LT Will Beatty. Very similar history/profile to Saffold; 2nd rounder LT with injury issues.A couple of weeks ago WB got a huge deal from NYG (37mill+, about half guaranteed). I'm sure the agent brought that to Saffold's attention.Of course, Beatty had a good injury-free year in 2012. I suspect Saffold may want a trade to a team that will give him a short term shot at LT this year to set himself up with a similarly good season to go into free agency/re-negotiation for his career prime contract.

    If it happens, I can't really blame the guy, although it's frustrating for fans. Nothing like a couple of random severe injuries to emphasize how small an earnings window an NFL player has.
    I also think the rookie salary cap will make the agents play even harder ball with 2nd contract negotiations. They lost a lot of money with the new CBA.

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    saffold not returning Coach Fisher's calls.....

    Just read on Bleacher report that Saffold has not returned any calls since Long was signed. While overeaction should be avoided, and i appreciate that Saffold is disappointed, i will say that this is certainly not good news. Personally, i think its 50-50 whether Saffold is on the team after the draft.

    Saffold has one year to go on his contract. The odds of him being signed by the Rams long term in my opinion are low, it probably only happens if Jake Long busts or gets hurt again. Left tackles get paid more money than right tackles and saffold is still on a relatively low paying rookie contract.


    Question, would you take a third round pick for Saffold if offered?

    Ramming speed to all

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    Re: saffold not returning Coach Fisher's calls.....

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    Question, would you take a third round pick for Saffold if offered?
    In a heartbeat.

    I dont see him being a Ram past next year. Fisher has done a lot of purging of players from the old regime and Saffold will be another one IMO. If we could get a 3rd rounder this year for him id take that deal in a second.

    I was actually thinking about this today and made a poll over at TST about it. The answers have varried from 1st rounder to 7th for him and some good comments about it. I think a team that picks early in the first that has a need at LT but has other needs just as big could trade for him so they can grab another position early.


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    Re: With Long in the Fold, Rams Look Ahead / Saffold not returning calls?

    Non Issue. Saffold has been injury prone,

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