Free agency is just a little over two weeks away and the St. Louis Rams have some serious questions facing the club on the offensive side of the football. As if the fact that they were one of just eight teams to score less than 300 points in 2012 wasn’t a big enough concern, now pending contract issues have the team in a real state of uncertainty. General Manager Les Snead has been doing his best to get out in front of the issue, but has he been able to make any progress in negotiations with the agents of Steven Jackson or Danny Amendola?
Discussions at the NFL Scouting Combine have been taking place between the representatives for both players and the Rams organization. According to Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher, things with Jackson have been progressing as he said: “We’ve had discussions with Eugene Parker (Jackson’s agent), and thus far things look good. I think it’s identifying what both sides want moving forward. ‘Jack’ knows how I feel about him and that we want him back. But we’ve got time. We’ve got a few more weeks and we’ll see where it goes.”
As for Amedola’s situation, things aren’t nearly as optimistic. GM Snead said: “Just like intangibles come into play, just like physical skill comes into play, just like production comes into play, your ability to be on the field comes into play. That’s a fact of life. I think everybody knows it, and I’d be remiss to not tell you that. So yes, you have to weigh that.”
Of course Snead is referring to Amendola’s injury history with the Rams as he was able to play just one game in 2011 and only 10 last season (two of which were very limited). The team is understandably hesitant to throw truckloads of money at a guy who hasn’t even played 50 percent of the snaps over the past two seasons. Some have actually questioned just how valuable Amendola actually is to the Rams with his career numbers being just 196 receptions and seven touchdowns for a team that fields very limited options at the receiver position around him.
Fisher went on to reiterate his desire to have both players in the Rams locker room saying: “We’ve said all along, we’d like to have both of them back. They’re key members of our team. But if that doesn’t happen, you have to address and fill those voids.”
Behind Jackson, the Rams have Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, and Terrance Ganaway on the depth chart. Aside from Amendola, the wideout spot has Chris Givens, Brian Quick, and Austin Pettis. This offseason is going to see plenty of turnover for a team that just underwent a massive amount a year ago, but they have the ammunition in the NFL Draft to replenish the roster in a hurry.
What seems most likely at this point is the Jackson will re-negotiate his contract down to a smaller cap hit and stick around while Amendola will get some handsome offers elsewhere and end up leaving the Rams this offseason. The pressure will be on the Rams young receiving corps to step up in his absence, but the club has plenty of confidence in the players currently on their depth chart.