With the dust settled in terms of free agency, the next thing up for the Rams is the NFL draft, in two weeks.
The Rams, not known to be big players in the free agent market, have been very busy under the direction of first-year coach Steve Spagnuolo.
The Moves (former team in parenthesis)
Signed G/C Jason Brown (Ravens) Signed James Butler (Giants)Signed QB Kyle Boller (Ravens) to backup Marc Bulger. Boller replaces Gus Frerotte.Acquired WR Laurent Robinson (Atlanta) in exchange of swapping 5th and 6th round picks in this years draft.Cut OT Orlando PaceCut WR Torry HoltRe-signed CB Ron Bartell
Yes the Rams have signed two players in the free agent market in Brown and Butler to add depth to the o-line and secondary respectively. They should be starters and are definite improvements for a team that struggled on both sides of the ball.
Boller is an upgrade over Frerotte, who had his moments in the Rams second victory of the last season against Dallas, but is past his time in the NFL as a reliable backup. Boller has a big arm and can take over if Bulger falters.
Robinson, 23, has good size (6'2, 194lbs) to give the Rams some of what they are lacking at the WR position, especially with the release of Torry Holt. He should challenge for a spot opposite Donnie Avery.
Cutting Orlando Pace was something I wrote of previously here on STB. The Rams are in rebuilding mode which includes getting rid of veterans. Holt was another casualty.
Bartell is a big corner (6'1″) who had a very good season last year. He should work well with Butler and Atogwe in the secondary. The Rams have really missed at the CB spot in recent drafts, so being able to retain someone who is a solid contributor was a must.
Overall, the free agent moves surprised me somewhat. Attracting players to a 2-14 team is usually a tough task, especially when coming from winning organizations such as the Ravens and Giants.
However, with the chance to be front line players, the amount of money offered, and the chance to change the fortunes of a team, was too much to ignore. Spagnuolo is slowing creating a new environment to attract players.
Now unto the draft. The Rams are picking #2 overall. There was a story on NFL.com last week about the Rams possibly trading the #2 pick. Not a chance. Unless someone drastically overpays, you can count on the Rams selecting the best player on their board and coughing up the $20 – 30 M guaranteed.
So who are they looking at? Well offensive tackle is still a need with the loss of Pace and Alex Barron at right tackle, who simply has not lived up to expectations. Jason Smith of Baylor and Eugene Munroe of Virginia are all in play for the Rams at #2.
How about off the board picks? Aaron Curry at #2? Spagnuolo is a defensive coach and Curry is the top rated defensive player. Mark Sanchez or Matt Stafford? Stafford might be gone at #1 to Det. Sanchez is the second rated QB, and although they have Bulger locked up to a big money deal, he has not inspired much confidence with his play in recent seasons.
Regardless, the Rams should be able to get a good player to add to their successful off season thus far. At 2-14 last year, things can only go up.
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Written by Femi Fasoyinu