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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams' free-agent options dwindle

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Mar. 03 2008

    The Rams were interested in Pittsburgh's Alan Faneca as much for what he could
    do in the locker room as on the football field. They were looking for veteran
    leadership on an offensive line that will be young next season with the
    exception of left tackle Orlando Pace.

    But they never could get Faneca, a seven-time Pro Bowler, in for a free-agent
    visit to explain their plans. By all accounts, their offer was competitive with
    the five-year, $40 million deal that Faneca signed with the New York Jets.

    The next player on their list at the position, Tennessee's Jacob Bell, is
    expected at Rams Park today for a free-agent visit. Bell, who turned 27 on
    Sunday, isn't in Faneca's class as a blocker. But he's five years younger and
    still developing as a player.

    With the release of Gus Frerotte (36), Isaac Bruce (35), and James Hall (31),
    the Rams aren't just freeing up salary cap space. It looks like a concerted
    effort to get younger. You could throw Jeff Wilkins (35) into that group as
    well, although Wilkins' retirement was injury-related.

    Bell is the type of player who would fit into such a youth movement. He is an
    ascending young veteran heading into his second contract. Nine years ago, Adam
    Timmerman wasn't the Rams' first choice in free agency at guard; it was Wally
    Williams. But Williams never made it to St. Louis, signing with New Orleans on
    his first free-agent trip. Timmerman worked out quite well, much better in fact
    than Williams, who soon washed out with the Saints.

    The Titans want to re-sign Bell, but not for an exorbitant price. Trouble is,
    "exorbitant" is the operative word in the opening days of free agency. Teams
    throw money around like confetti, so it was business as usual on the opening
    weekend of free agency.

    "That was to be expected," said Billy Devaney, the Rams' executive vice
    president of player personnel. "There were a couple of signings where everybody
    goes, 'You got to be kidding me.' But that's part of it. It's going to be the
    same thing next year. ... Every year it's the same thing. It's just the names
    change."

    Despite the setback with Faneca, the Rams seem determined to add a guard and a
    center in free agency. They don't want to be in a position where they're
    depending on players to stay healthy. Guards Richie Incognito and Mark
    Setterstrom, as well as center Brett Romberg, were projected as opening-day
    starters in 2007 but missed substantial parts of the season with injuries.

    Bell is a tad undersized at 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, and certainly wouldn't be
    classified as a mauler. A college teammate of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at
    Miami of Ohio, Bell needed to get stronger when he entered the NFL and has
    improved on that to some degree, although he occasionally gets overpowered.

    Bell is considered athletic by guard standards with good footwork and
    technique. Those attributes give him good recovery skills on plays where he
    gets beaten by a defender's first move.

    Although he primarily has played left guard with Tennessee, Bell also has seen
    time at right and left tackle with the Titans.

    Cornerback and wide receiver also are areas where the Rams are exploring
    options in free agency. At cornerback, they were hoping to land free agents
    Drayton Florence of San Diego and Jacques Reeves of Dallas. But within the
    first 48 hours of free agency, Florence signed with Jacksonville, and Reeves
    went to Houston.

    Both signed big contracts, particularly for players who were primarily backups
    in 2007. According to the Florida Times-Union, Florence's contract averaged $6
    million a year and included $12 million in bonuses. Meanwhile, the Houston
    Chronicle reported that Reeves' five-year deal with the Texans averaged $4
    million a year.

    With free-agent choices dwindling on the cornerback market, the Rams might have
    to switch gears and explore a trade. In fact, Philadelphia cornerback Lito
    Sheppard could be on the way out now that the Eagles have signed New England
    free agent Asante Samuel to a contract averaging nearly $10 million a year.

    It appears that the Rams are looking for cornerback help because of concerns
    about the long-term availability of Fakhir Brown. Brown missed four games at
    the start of the 2007 for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Another
    violation could lead to a one-year suspension.


  2. #2
    tomahawk247's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' free-agent options dwindle

    im worried about all this talk about Brown possibly getting another suspension, there is a lot of it floating around...

  3. #3
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' free-agent options dwindle

    Quote Originally Posted by tomahawk247 View Post
    im worried about all this talk about Brown possibly getting another suspension, there is a lot of it floating around...
    I agree, is there something the RAMS know that they're not sharing with the media and fans? Did Brown get caught with his hand in the cookie jar again?

  4. #4
    jkramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' free-agent options dwindle

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    I agree, is there something the RAMS know that they're not sharing with the media and fans? Did Brown get caught with his hand in the cookie jar again?
    same here,alot of talk about this,no need to keep it a secret we are all going to find out anyways.

  5. #5
    ramsplaya16's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' free-agent options dwindle

    i think that they are doing it just as an insurance policy, to where if brown does fail a test, they would have someone to step in. if he doesnt fail then we have more depth
    Built RAM tough

  6. #6
    VegasRam's Avatar
    VegasRam is offline Ram MVP
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    Re: Rams' free-agent options dwindle

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    I agree, is there something the RAMS know that they're not sharing with the media and fans? Did Brown get caught with his hand in the cookie jar again?
    Not exactly.

    He got caught doing what gave him the craving for cookies.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

  7. #7
    moloch41's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' free-agent options dwindle

    Bring back Jimmy Kennedy!!! I'm sure he'll leave his job at the Krispy Kreme if the price is right!!!

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