The St. Louis Rams made a bold move by acquiring troubled wide receiver Titus Young on Tuesday. The team was announced as the only one to place a claim on him after he was released by the Detroit Lions. While many will question the move, the Rams could actually come out ahead.
Signing Young reunites the former Boise State Bronco with former teammate Austin Pettis. While teammates at Boise State, the receiving duo was nearly unstoppable. The duo was part of the dominant years for Boise State that almost became legit BCS National Championship contenders. While playing three years together, Pettis set the record for receptions at Boise State with 229. Young set the school record for career yards with 3063 in three seasons.
Pettis has seen his stats improve in his sophomore season. In 2012, Pettis caught 30 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns. All three numbers were improvements from his rookie season. Young saw his stats decline as he missed games due to team suspensions and injury. Putting the two receivers together could actually help both players. Having a familiar teammate will hopefully keep Titus in check and help him live up to his potential. For Pettis, having the competition for the number two or three receiver could cause both young receivers to move up the depth chart with strong performances.
For the Rams, the move is also smart from a salary cap perspective. The team will now have one of the lowest caps for wide receivers. The team has pending free agents in Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson. Titus will make $555,000, Chris Givens $480,000 and Pettis $580,000. Last season Amendola made $2.0 million while Gibson made $1.0 million. The Rams still will likely resign one of them or draft an additional receiver to round out the roster.
Last season, Amendola led the team with 63 catches. Givens led the team in receiving yards with 698. Both of these are low compared to many other NFL teams that have receivers that post 800-1000 yards. Last season Titus had 383 yards in 10 games. The year before that saw Young put up 607 yards and six touchdowns.
Back in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Rams selected Pettis with the 78th overall pick. This made him the eighth highest wide receiver taken that year. Back in the second round the Lions took Young with the 44th overall pick as the fourth receiver taken. No one would have thought that both would end up on the same team, but now the Rams have the opportunity to recreate the glory days of the Broncos. Perhaps they should trade with the Lions for third string quarterback Kellen Moore and let him get some time with his former targets.