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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams Inside Slant

    Rams Team Report

    Inside Slant

    The last remaining player from when the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, wide receiver Isaac Bruces contract was terminated when he reportedly rejected an offer to reduce his 2008 compensation from $5 million to $3 million.


    Bruce was due a $2 million roster bonus Friday, so the decision on his status had to be made by Thursday. Two years ago, the Rams briefly released Bruce, but then re-signed him to a new, three-year contract. However, this time Bruce quickly turned around and signed a two-year deal with division-rival San Francisco reportedly worth $6 million. He joins former Rams coach Mike Martz in San Francisco.


    Last season, Bruce moved into third place on the NFL all-time receiving list with 14,070 yards and sixth place in receptions with 942.


    The Rams also released quarterback Gus Frerotte, declining to pay him a $500,000 roster bonus. Coupled with his $1.4 million salary for 2008, the Rams save another $1.9 million against the salary cap. Frerotte was the backup to Marc Bulger the last two seasons, and had played for head coach Scott Linehan in Minnesota and Miami.


    However, Linehan has handed over the offense to new coordinator Al Saunders. The Rams are expected to pursue either Todd Collins or Trent Green, both of whom have a history with Saunders.


    Said Frerotte, I am a little surprised, but thats the way it goes in this business. Ive played 14 years, and thats a long time. Im looking forward to spending time with my family.


    Those decisions came one day after the Rams restructured the contract of defensive end Leonard Little, who was due a $7.17 million roster bonus Friday. The bonus was converted to a signing bonus, which splits the cap hit over the 2008 and 2009 seasons.


    Little underwent toe surgery during the 2007 season, but is considered ahead of schedule in his recovery from the injury and surgery.


    The three moves involving Bruce, Frerotte and Little saved the Rams $10.485 million against the 2008 salary cap, which has been set at $116.0 million.


    On Bruce, Linehan said, pretty much an economic decision. You get to the point where you have players and you get to the point where we are and we are in a position where we have to make a lot of adjustments. We made a lot of adjustments coaching staff wise, we made a big adjustment in our personnel department in adding Billy Devaney. Once that is all said and done then you turn toward the players and it always starts with the players that are up there in years.


    “This is a business and thats why they have the salary cap. Unfortunately it puts you in these situations where you have to make tough decisions about veterans that you think very highly of. To me he is what the Rams are all about. So it makes it really hard.


    Notes, Quotes
    • C Andy McCollum is an unrestricted free agent, and he will likely retire. However, coach Scott Linehan said theres always a chance he could return.


    Said Linehan, I did talk to Andy and he said he will stay in shape in case we get in that position where we would have to go there and sign him if we needed him. Hes not ruling out coming back and playing. Andy is as salt of the earth kind of guy as there is but I thought that was a good plan.”


    McCollum lost his starting job to Brett Romberg last summer, but ended up starting seven games at center and three at left guard because of the injuries that hit the teams line.


    • Because of the amount of injuries the team had last season, the team closely looked at the offseason and training camp regimen to see if any adjustments are needed.


    Said coach Scott Linehan, The argument was made that some of it was just some bad luck. We will look at how we do it. We assess our offseason program, our strength and conditioning program, even how we approach training camp. Our training camp might be a little different this year. You have to believe it was one of those once in a lifetime type deals. I think half of that will be true and the other half we will need to address. If there are a number of injuries in a certain area we will have to change what we are doing. We have to have a little better luck that way.


    • Because of the number of former familiar players and coaches that have been hired by coach Scott Linehan, some began calling them FOSLs, as in Friends of Scott Linehan. Of course, the acronym is pronounced fossils.


    The most recent hires were line coach Steve Loney, who was with Linehan with the Vikings, and running backs coach Art Valero, who was with him in college.


    Linehan has been able to laugh at the FOSL term.


    When asked about it, Linehan said, I told our (coaches), ‘You guys better take that as like a badge of honor. You better not call Al (Saunders) a FOSL. Als in his 60s. He might take that a little bit differently.”


    Quote To Note: Every decision were making is with the idea that this is what we need to do to win a championship. And so you have to take some of the personal (friendship) parts out of it, set it aside, and say this is what I think is best. Its not very pleasant sometimes. But I think if you handle things professionally and in the right way, usually in the end, everybody comes out with a good situation. This is a new time for us and the changes were necessary. Coach Scott Linehan on the coaching changes he has made this off-season.


    Strategy And Personnel
    TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY


    With the second pick in the draft, the Rams have to figure out how to get value from a player that will command a large amount of guaranteed money. With much debate revolving around players like DE Chris Long and OT Jake Long, the Rams wonder if they are true difference-makers worthy of being selected that high.


    They also have several offensive linemen returning from injuries, so it complicates the decisions to be made in the coming weeks. They would like to add a veteran offensive lineman to the mix that would also bring some leadership.


    1. Defensive end: Leonard Little and James Hall are in their 30s and Little is coming off toe surgery. Another pass rusher is needed.


    2. Offensive line: So many players are coming back from injury, it’s impossible to know who will be healthy for 2008. But some depth is needed at tackle.


    3. Wide receiver: A big, young receiver is needed for an offense where top pass catcher Torry Holt is aging and Isaac Bruce was released.


    Medical Watch: No updates.


    FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

    TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS


    G Milford Brown started at three different positions during the 2007 season, and was at left guard for most of the second half of the season. He was in Arizona when new line coach Steve Loney was there.


    LB Brandon Chillar made tremendous progress in his fourth season and could hit it big in free agency. The Rams would like him back, but not at an outrageous price.


    T/G Adam Goldberg is a solid backup, but suffered a knee injury in Week 4 against Dallas and missed the rest of the season.


    T Brandon Gorin started on the right side at the end of the season because of massive injuries on the line. Might be brought back for depth.


    C/G Andy McCollum started at left guard and center during the 07 season, but hasnt made a decision whether he wants to play another season.


    S Hanik Milligan played mostly on special teams when he was on the field.


    C Brett Romberg won the starting job from Andy McCollum in last years training camp, but was hampered a good part of the season by an ankle injury. New offensive line coach Steve Loney might want to go in a different direction.


    LB Raonall Smith is a solid special teams player and backup linebacker, but ended the 07 season on injured reserve with a knee injury.


    T/G Todd Steussie wants to return for another season, but its unknown where he fits on the line. Suffered a broken foot at the end of the preseason and came back for the final six games of the season.


    TE Aaron Walker is a decent blocker who saw his season end because of a shoulder injury.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)


    RB Rich Alexis (not tendered as ERFA) was signed late in the season after being cut in training camp.


    S Jerome Carter (not tendered as RFA) has never been the hitter the Rams expected, but he has been solid on special teams. Ended the ‘07 season on injured reserve.


    DE Trevor Johnson (not tendered as RFA) was a situational player that is expendable.

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS


    S Oshiomogho Atogwe (tendered at $2.017M with 1st-round pick as compensation) tied for the NFC lead with eight interceptions.

    PLAYERS ACQUIRED


    K Josh Brown: UFA Seahawks; $14.2M/5 yrs, $4M SB.

    PLAYERS RE-SIGNED


    RB Travis Minor: Potential UFA; terms unknown.

    PLAYERS LOST


    WR Isaac Bruce (released).


    Gus Frerotte (released).


    DE James Hall (released)).


    PK Jeff Wilkins (retired).


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams Inside Slant

    What's the difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent? In layman's terms please, I'm from the slow class.

  3. #3
    serkicker32's Avatar
    serkicker32 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Inside Slant

    The first group of unrestricted free agents have played in the nfl for at least 4 years. The second group(not tendered) have not played at least for years, but the team did not offer them a tender, which made them unrestricted and can go to any team they chose. Restricted free agents have been tendered, which means that the team has the right to match any contract within 7 days that they sign with another team, but if they don't match the contract then the team will receive a draft pick from the other team that signs them.

    With OJ Atogwe we would receive a 1st round pick if we do not match any contract that he signs.

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