Sunday, March 5, 2006

- We are less than a half-day away from the start of the new NFL fiscal year and there is no official agreement on a collective bargaining agreement. Assuming there is no agreement in extremely short order, the salary cap will hold right around $95 million. It appears, though, that the deadline to get under the cap and the start of free agency could be extended again depending on how close the two sides are to an agreement. When all is said and done, the salary cap could exceed $105 million. That would bode well for the Rams, who would then have some money to spend in the market and fill some important needs.

- The status of Isaac Bruce seems less certain now than it did a few days ago. It seemed as recently as Thursday that a contract extension was a certain. But, as the days have gone on, the negotiations have become more tenuous. It's a tough spot for both sides. Bruce is an important part of this franchise and it isn't lip service when guys like coach Scott Linehan and receivers coach Henry Ellard say they want to retain Bruce. They really do want to keep Isaac in St. Louis and Isaac really does want to stay in St. Louis. But a decision has to be made by tomorrow, when Bruce is due a bonus. As we all know, though, this is a business and both sides have to do what they deem is best for them at the end of the day. It'd be disappointing, though, if Bruce couldn't find an amicable agreement that would not only ensure his status, but also help the team win. It's great that he wants to stay, but if it worth staying if the Rams don't have the money to spend to help those final seasons be winners?

- Expect safety Adam Archuleta to get plenty of love from the free agent market right away. It's well know by now that the Redskins love him and there are a few other teams that are fond of Archuleta as well. The Rams are going to have to move quickly on the safety situation if they are serious about adding a talented veteran. That means getting in on the likes of Chris Hope, Archuleta or Marlon McCree right away and letting them know you are serious about getting something done. There are some solid options out there, but they probably won't last too long. Jerome Carter and Oshiomogho Atogwe are the two most experienced safeties on the roster. You just can't go into next season with that duo as the starters. It's fine to take a shot on one, but not both.

- Don't expect any extremely lavish deals to come out of the Rams' free agent moves, but there might be some decent dollars shelled out, depending, of course, on what the salary cap number is when free agency starts. Signs point to the Rams going for a veteran to help in each section of the defense, i.e. one defensive lineman, one linebacker and one defensice back capable of starting.

- Check back for updates on all of these topics throughout the evening.