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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams' free-agent spending perplexing

    By Steve Reynolds on March 9, 2007 12:35 AM
    The St. Louis Rams appeared to be players early in free agency, quickly addressing holes at defensive end and wide receiver, and then a funny thing happened.

    The Rams suddenly became Scrooge McDuck.

    The Rams have made some impact signings thus far, but only on offense. When one looks at the speedily aggressive defensive acquisitions by divisional foes such as Patrick Kerney in Seattle and Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, Aubrayo Franklin and Tully Banta-Cain by the maniacally spendthrift *****, the Rams appear to be suddenly standing still.

    With the talent pool becoming more diluted by the day, it appears likely that the Rams will attempt to fill their most pressing need, defensive tackle, through the draft. Considering DTs almost always take a couple years to develop, if they are not total busts, the Rams are engaging in a most dangerous game.

    Let's assess what St. Louis has done to date in free agency:

    James Hall, DE; Height: 6-foot-2, Weight: 280; Age: 30.

    Team need: A
    Player Talent: C+
    Bang for the buck: A+

    Let's face it, did anyone unable to simultaneously hum Motown tunes while dodging gunfire ever hear of James Hall before the Rams signed him? By trading for Hall, the Rams have saved quite a bit of money, despite assuming his contract, as they would have been forced to spend quite a bit more to acquire his services after the Lions released him. In a free-agent period when NFL teams have showered players with bags of money as if they were strippers, the Rams were smart to give up a mere fifth-round pick.

    Hall's five sacks in seven games last year is misleading; he had three against Buffalo and notched one against the Rams (didn't everyone?). However, Hall is an intelligent player who, unlike Leonard Little, is more of a power rusher. If he can stay healthy, Hall could really benefit playing opposite the often double-teamed Little.

    Drew Bennett, WR; Height: 6-5, Weight: 206; Age: will be 29 next season.

    Team need: B
    Player Talent: A-
    Bang for the buck: C

    Widely considered the most talented wideout in free agency, Bennett replaces Kevin Curtis in the lineup and his contract length suggests that he will eventually replace Isaac Bruce. The Rams have effectively traded speed for size at the slot receiver position, a move that apparently is more in tune with Scott Linehan's offensive philosophy. Although stopping just short of overspending for Bennett, the Rams doled out a lot of money for a less critical need.

    Randy McMichael, TE; Height: 6-3, Weight: 255; Age: will be 28 this season.

    Team need: C+
    Player Talent: B+
    Bang for the buck: B -

    McMichael is a proven receiving threat and was a reliable, durable player for the Dolphins. His deal is worth $11 million over three years with a $3 million signing bonus.

    Despite head coach Scott Linehan's supposed penchant for throwing to big men (wasn't Linehan supposed to make ample use of his tight ends?), Steven Jackson was the only player not named Bruce or Holt to see the ball on a regular basis last season.

    McMichael and Bennett simply must see a lot of balls thrown their way to justify the rather pricey investment made in them, and these moves will assuredly shove youngsters Joe Klopfenstein and Dominique Byrd further out into the cold.

    However, with three No. 1-type wideouts, a proven tight end and the emergence of Jackson as a legitimate receiving threat, the Rams' offense could now see a renaissance on a level not enjoyed since the "Greatest Show on Turf" days.

    Todd Johnson, DB; Height: 6-1, Weight: 200; Age: 28.

    Team Need: C+
    Player Talent: C
    Bang for the Buck: B

    An experienced safety, Johnson saw consistent playing time as a backup with the NFC champion Bears and has started a total of 18 times in his four-year career in Chicago. The move adds safety and special teams depth to the Rams' secondary corps. Johnson has signed for $4 million over four years.

    Todd Steussie, OT/G; Height: 6-6, Weight: 310; Age: 36.

    Team need: B-
    Player Talent: B
    Bang for the buck: A

    Signing the reliable Steussie as a backup for what is presumed to be near the league minimum gives the Rams insurance should the unthinkable happen once more to one of their tackles. Although 36, Steussie is durable and also provides depth at the guard position.

    With the release of Adam Timmerman, the Rams appeared to be attempting to get younger along the offensive line, but the reacquisition of Steussie proves that theory inaccurate. If Timmerman was cut merely to create cap room, shouldn't the Rams attempt to fill more of said room with defensive help?

    Simply speaking, the Rams cannot afford to be frugal on their defensive spending and must pursue one of the remaining tackles on the market such as Michael Myers or Ian Scott. The Rams need a nose tackle to replace their latest first-round bust, Jimmy Kennedy, and a part-time starter to work in tandem with La'Roi Glover. However, adding more young defensive tackle potential through the draft to couple with the youthful Claude Wroten will do nothing to rectify the immediate problem (and with St. Louis' draft record at DT, it may never work out at all).

    If they're not careful, the Rams could end up seven fantasticatrillion dollars and sixteen cents under the salary cap because every DT of consequence has been signed, and concluding your free-agent run so many millions under the cap is only enviable if you're a duck named Uncle Scrooge.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' free-agent spending perplexing

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Steve Reynolds on March 9, 2007 12:35 AM


    However, with three No. 1-type wideouts, a proven tight end and the emergence of Jackson as a legitimate receiving threat, the Rams' offense could now see a renaissance on a level not enjoyed since the "Greatest Show on Turf" days.
    Our offense is going to be awesome. Let's cut the sacks from last season in half (49) and Bulger will lead us to the promised land.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams' free-agent spending perplexing

    OVERALL SO FAR:

    Team Need: B
    Player Talent: B
    Bang for the Buck: A

    Looking good.:l

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams' free-agent spending perplexing

    if our young offensive line comes together and gels watch out... that is the key for next year... not the defense so much but the o-line... look at every single playoff team every year and their o-line is always one of the top...

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams' free-agent spending perplexing

    I think that the Rams have accepted that the defense is not going to be ready for a couple of years. So as the Colts have done they are going to score 40 points a game and allow their defense to grow as the year goes on with a big safety net.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams' free-agent spending perplexing

    I cant respond to this thread!
    Just Fix It

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams' free-agent spending perplexing

    That sounds good Country, but the best Rams offensive team didn't average 40 a game and the way I see it, this offense is no where near that offense at present.

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams' free-agent spending perplexing

    If we can't stop anyone, will it matter how good our Offense is ?.....I mean so what if we can score 40 when the other team scores 45...doesn't make sense to me. Defense..Defense..

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