After taking a day to thoroughly digest the news that the St. Louis Rams had in fact rolled the dice on beleaguered wide receiver Titus Young, it seems time to fully assess the decision by team management. Taking a chance on Young seemed like a foolish thing to do for the majority of teams across the league after his childish behavior with the Detroit Lions, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about his arrival with the Rams paying off handsomely.
The fact that the Rams claimed Young off of waivers involves very little risk on their behalf. Young is basically playing on a year to year deal with just two years on the contract and not a penny in bonus money. His salary for 2013 will be $555,000 while the 2014 season is at just $645,000. In essence, Young will be paid less than every receiver on the Rams roster and his impact as a speedy slot target could be bigger than any of them. The risk versus reward argument definitely tilts in favor of the Rams.
Signing Young solidifies the Rams depth chart at wide receiver and gives them more freedom in both free agency and the NFL Draft. Some felt that due to the lack of weapons that quarterback Sam Bradford had at his disposal this past season, adding another high-priced receiver in free agency or via the draft would be a serious option. With Young now in the fold, safety and offensive line clearly move to the top of the needs list. This newfound freedom will be quite precious when General Manager Les Snead gets into the draft process more heavily.
While some may be concerned with a receiver that has talent but just can’t behave, Head Coach Jeff Fisher won’t be. He took a gamble on Randy Moss from the waiver wire a few years back with the Tennessee Titans and even though it didn’t end up well, the team didn’t implode as a result. Fisher will immediately make it known that any of his past antics will not be tolerated and that this is essentially Young’s last chance. The familiarity factor with his former Boise State teammate Austin Pettis may also be a nice coup for Young. The two experienced a great deal of success in college and when reunited, maybe they can rekindle some of that same stardom with the Rams.
For the cost and the potential benefit, this was a sound business decision by the Rams. Young may crash and burn once again, but at least the team won’t go down with him. His ability to find the end zone will be much appreciated in St. Louis as well with Young playing just 26 career games and scoring 10 times already. If he and Bradford can gain a rapport by September, the Rams could have something dangerous on the offensive side of the ball in 2013.