2014 FA Decisions Becoming "No Brainers"
At the start of the year, the Rams had four potential starters headed for free agency in 2014: Rodger Saffold, Chris Williams, Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Darian Stewart.
In a few short weeks, the decisions have become pretty easy:
Saffold: He has been unable to stay healthy (he's actually had three injuries since the start of preseason). If this persists, I doubt the Rams will try too hard to re-sign him and, if they do, his price should be very reasonable.
Williams: He's done a good job so far, and the Rams may want him back. If he continues to have a good year and prices himself out of the Rams' budget, I think he could be replaced fairly easily (possibly by Barrett Jones).
Dunbar: Cut after receiving a 4 game suspension. Perhaps the Rams will bring him back to a cap friendly deal. In the end, though, his position is a less than 3 down spot, so it can be filled without paying a premium (i.e. current repacement Will Witherspoon).
Stewart: Has not been able to get on the field, so at this point its questionable whether he's really a starter. I think the Rams will be drafting another safety next year.
With its key players signed through 2014, the Rams will have the ability to be active in the FA market next year and, hopefully, will continue to add valuable pieces (as they have done with Jake Long and Jared Cook).
Re: 2014 FA Decisions Becoming "No Brainers"
I wouldn't be surprised if the one player brought back from that group is Chris Williams. With Dahl's contract reconstructing he could be cut before his bonus is due to save money and Williams would be a lower cost alternative and would help minimise turnover on the line. I think giving Saffold a multi year contract is too risky at this point. The rise of McLeod has made Stewart expendable since his role of special teams can be replaced by Daniels or Davis.
It'll be interesting to see how active the Rams are in free agency with the cap room they have. I have a hard time foreseeing more than one low cost starter/role player being brought in. But with 10 picks in the draft (I'm assuming one compensatory pick) Snead and Fisher will have a lot of chances to plug the holes.