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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Market slows down

    By Jim Thomas
    Wednesday, Mar. 04 2009

    Now that cornerback Ron Bartell has decided to return to St. Louis, agreeing to
    a four-year deal, the Rams are two-thirds of the way along in their Killer Bs
    strategy to open free agency.

    Baltimore center Jason Brown signed with the team on Saturday. Bartell agreed
    on Monday. And James Butler ... ?

    Call Butler a work in progress. Talks continue with Kevin and Carl Poston, the
    agents for Butler, the safety from the New York Giants. Butler has gotten
    nibbles from the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco ***** but so far has taken
    no trips.

    The Rams remain optimistic they can get a deal done with Butler in what has
    been a soft safety market so far. On Tuesday, Baltimore safety Jim Leonhard
    agreed to terms with the New York Jets, but it was for a modest $2 million a
    year $6 million over three years.

    While Rams executive vice president Kevin Demoff continues to work on the
    Butler deal, the Rams also were working on the next phase of their free-agent
    plan, the "second wave" of free agency.

    In theory, the market calms down after the first week or so of free agency,
    meaning players can be signed at more reasonable prices. Trouble is, many of
    the free agents who appeared to be on the Rams' radar have signed elsewhere.

    At wide receiver, Pittsburgh's Nate Washington signed with Tennessee, and
    Tennessee's Brandon Jones signed with San Francisco. The Rams had talked to
    agents for both players and there was a time over the weekend when it appeared
    one or both would be visiting Rams Park.

    Two New Orleans receivers could be possibilities for the Rams: deep threat
    Devery Henderson and restricted free agent Lance Moore. But Moore was tendered
    at a second-round level, and that's probably too steep a price for the Rams,
    since they obviously have a high second-round pick.

    At defensive tackle, Green Bay's Colin Cole signed with Seattle and San
    Francisco's Ron Fields signed with Denver. It's believed the Rams had interest
    in both. It seems a certainty that the Rams would like to add another defensive
    tackle to the mix with Clifton Ryan and Adam Carriker.

    At running back, the shelves are rapidly diminishing. Derrick Ward (Tampa Bay),
    Fred Taylor (New England), J.J. Arrington (Denver), Correll Buckhalter
    (Denver), Cedric Benson (Cincinnati), and Maurice Morris (Detroit) are all off
    the market.

    But there are still some options: Tatum Bell, DeShaun Foster, Rudi Johnson,
    Kevin Jones, Lamont Jordan, Deuce McAllister, Michael Pittman and Dominic
    Rhodes are all looking for work.

    At fullback, Tony Richardson (New York Jets) and Corey McIntyre (Buffalo)
    re-signed with their clubs, and Detroit's Moran Norris signed with San
    Francisco. But Heath Evans, Lorenzo Neal, Terrelle Smith and Leonard Weaver
    remain on the market.

    The Rams are known to have at least some interest in Evans and Weaver but don't
    want to spend a ton of money at the position. Neal has had a great career, but
    at age 38 may not have much left.

    League-wide, there hasn't been a lot of movement on the quarterback market so
    far. But two sources now have told the Post-Dispatch that the Rams aren't
    interested in Tampa Bay's Jeff Garcia as a potential No. 2 behind starter Marc
    Bulger. Quarterbacks such as Byron Leftwich, J.P. Losman, Kyle Boller and Chris
    Simms remain available.

    The Rams also are exploring their options for a backup tight end. The team has
    talked about bringing in San Francisco's Billy Bajema for a role as a blocking
    tight end, but no visit has been set yet. Bajema visited the New York Jets on

    And what about the all-important offensive tackle position? The best guys are
    gone. Jordan Gross re-signed with Carolina just before the start of free
    agency. Vernon Carey re-signed with Miami; Cincinnati's Stacey Andrews went to
    Philadelphia; and Jon Stinchcomb re-signed with New Orleans.

  2. #2
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Market slows down

    I am very confident that if we are patient, we will get butler. The postons will overplay their hand as always, and we will be in the best position to get him signed assuming our bid is competitive, which there is no reason to believe that it wont be.

    The real trick is whether the rams are willing to wait or whether they intend to move onto another option.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel

  3. #3
    81~BIG-GAME's Avatar
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    Re: Market slows down

    I agree gc, reading between the lines which isn't always accurate, everything seems to point to Butler wanting to come and play for Spags again. It's just getting the deal done with his agents which is why it has taken much longer than I anticipated tbh. He was supposedly due to visit with the Browns but hasn't for whatever reason which is interesting.

  4. #4
    GolfnRAMFAN is offline Registered User
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    Re: Market slows down

    Speaking of Killer B's in free agency, how about last year too: J. Brown, J. Bell, A Becht. I am starting to see a trend!

  5. #5
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    Re: Market slows down

    The Poston brothers worry me as they were Orlando's agents for the years when we were forced to franchise him because we couldn't get a long-term deal locked in. I do believe with Ziggy out of the picture we'll have more success and get Butler signed.

    I found Jim Thomas' column interesting as he failed to identify Jon Runyan or Tre Thomas when discussing OT's. In the imaginary areas of my brain I could see us signing one of these guys as Philly likely won't sign both, as a bridge to a more secure OT situation, particularly at Right Tackle and move Barron inside or trade him. He has some value as he's young. Certainly worth a mid-round pick and a back-up player.

    Much to anticipate.

    Go Rams!

  6. #6
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Market slows down

    I can not envision a scenario in which we let pace go to save 6 million in cap and then spend the money to sign thomas or runyan, both of whom the eagles are allowing to test the market because of age and price. The rams can accomplish the same thing (which by the way i agree with) by keeping pace.

    By the way, ziggy is guilty of many things. Not being able to work out a long term deal with the postons is NOT one that can be laid at his feet. The postons are notoriously impossible for everyone to deal with and i dont see how anyone could blame the pace situation on ziggy. Note that as soon as pace fired the postons, ziggy got the deal done.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel

  7. #7
    EvilXenu's Avatar
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    Re: Market slows down

    The Postons really hurt their own clients. Butler wants to be here, the Rams want him, MAKE IT HAPPEN!
    And you thought Mike Martz was "mad"!

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