Rams Add Packers Center to Offensive Line
The two best centers available in NFL free agency went off the market Friday and the Rams got one of them. And each player received very similar contracts, according to early reports.
The Rams landed 31-year-old Scott Wells, who grew up in Nashville when Jeff Fisher was coach of the Titans and made his first Pro Bowl last season while with the Green Bay Packers. Wells was also pursued by the Titans, but elected to sign with the Rams.
Wells’ agent Brian Parker told the Post-Dispatch, "They're a classy group of people -- it makes you want to do business with them. It's clear to us that Les Snead's going to build a winner there; Kevin Demoff couldn't be more professional."
Oddly, Wells becomes the second free agent signed by the Rams this week along with cornerback Cortland Finnegan that entered the league as seventh-round draft picks.
Wells was drafted in 2004 and since 2006 when he shifted from guard to center, has played 90 of a possible 96 regular-season games and started 88. He also started 12 games during his first two seasons at guard.
Thirteen years ago, the Rams also signed a Green Bay offensive lineman, Adam Timmerman, who entered the league as a seventh-round draft pick.
Early reports pegged Wells’ contract as being worth $24 million over four years with $13 million guaranteed.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy was asked at his post-season press conference how much he wanted Wells back. McCarthy said, "He's the center in a multi-scheme offense. More importantly, he's a heck of a football player. I make no bones about it. I told Scott I hope we're working together again next year. He's going into free agency, and we'll see what happens.
"But Scott Wells has been a very valuable member of our football team."
Meanwhile, Houston center Chris Myers, who will be 31 in September, re-signed with the Texans Friday. His contract is also for four years and is worth a reported $25 million with $14 million guaranteed.
Once Wells was signed, the Rams decided not to have former Texans tackle Eric Winston visit. However, the Rams remain interested in former Carolina guard-tackle Travelle Wharton, who was released earlier this week.
The Rams hope to hear good news this weekend from defensive tackle Jason Jones, who is also considering Seattle, and Lake of the Ozarks native Shaun Hill, who is deciding whether to stay as a backup in Detroit or sign with the Rams. Other defensive tackles that have visited are Kendall Langford (Dolphins) and Andre Fluellen (Lions).
There were also reports during the day Friday that the Rams were close to reaching agreement with wide receiver Mario Manningham (Giants), but a Rams source said that was “completely false.”
In an interesting twist, quarterback Brady Quinn was at Rams Park Thursday, but it is believed it was mostly to have someone to throw to wide receiver Steve Smith (Eagles). Most free agents just visit at this time of the year, but the Rams reported Quinn and Smith as tryouts.
Smith played sparingly last season after being released by the Giants because of a knee injury. The Eagles signed him, but he played just nine games and was on injured reserve for the final three games of the season. He had 11 receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown.
Quinn was headed to the Jets for a tryout, but that never happened and he is now expected to visit Kansas City. The Jets signed Drew Stanton (Lions) as a backup to Mark Sanchez.
As for former Rams, cornerback Ron Bartell signed a one-year contract with the Raiders.
Bartell told the Post-Dispatch, "I'm excited. It's a chance to go to a place that's known for having quality corners, a chance to move to the other side of the country and get into a system that I'm comfortable with.”
To Rams fans, he said, "I appreciate all the support they've shown me over the years. They've helped me and watched me grow over the years and hopefully they have some better years coming ahead."
Re: Rams Add Packers Center to Offensive Line
Interesting news about Winston and I'm happy to hear Mr. Bartell is finding his place somewhere else...
I love to hear what Mike McKarthy had to say about Wells... a big reason I wanted him once Brown got sent packing...