Rams Release Butler
Six-year veteran Jerametrius Butler, a once-ascending cornerback whose career progress was sidetracked by a 2005 knee injury, has been released by the St. Louis Rams, making him a free agent and able to sign with any other team.
Depending on the state of his health, Butler, 28, could draw interest from around the league. The Rams did attempt to trade him during this year's draft, but found no serious suitors at the time, in part because of Butler's contract.
His deal with the Rams had three years remaining, at base salaries of $2 million (2007), $2.5 million (2008) and $3 million (2009). Butler will have to battle another recently released cornerback, Kelly Herndon of Seattle, for attention in the free agent market.
A fifth-round choice in the 2001 draft, Butler moved into the starting lineup in 2003 and had four interceptions that season. In 2004, he posted five pickoffs. So convinced were the Rams that Butler possessed big-time potential that they matched a four-year, $15 million restricted free agent offer sheet to which Washington had signed the cornerback after the '03 season.
Butler's career began to spiral, however, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the team's 2005 training camp. After Butler rehabilitated the surgically-repaired knee, he sustained a serious hamstring injury last summer in camp.
As a result of the injuries, the former Kansas State standout has appeared in only six games over the past two seasons. The Rams' acquisitions of other cornerbacks through free agency and the draft knocked him well down the depth chart.
This spring, Butler stayed away from all of St. Louis' offseason conditioning sessions, all but severing his relationship with the team.
In 64 games, Butler had 207 tackles, nine interceptions, 24 passes defensed, one forced fumble and four fumble recoveries.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.