Now that Steven Jackson has officially voided his deal with the St. Louis Rams and the team has cut ties with tackle Wayne Hunter, the salary cap situation is much more optimistic. The Rams have roughly $11 million in free space heading into free agency and many have speculated that the club will look to make a big splash when the free-for-all opens up on March 12. They may not be able to spend with reckless abandon, but here is a nice blueprint for the team now that the offseason picture has come more into focus.
As mentioned above, the Rams can try to grab a big name in free agency if they so desire. The one that makes the most sense is safety Dashon Goldson of the San Francisco 49ers. There really are no dependable, productive safeties on the Rams’ current roster and prying Goldson away from their NFC West rivals would be a win-win. This would also free up the team to address all of its other needs via the draft and not be forced to add a safety there as well. Brandon Gibson is set to hit the open market as well and he is just as important to this team on offense as Danny Amendola. Even though the latter will get a bigger paycheck on the open market, the former needs to stay in St. Louis and continue to be unassumingly productive.
Clearly if the Rams don’t get some offensive line help in free agency, the draft is a must. At picks 16 and 22 overall, the three top tackles are likely to be long gone, but the Rams could find some much needed help at guard in either Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina or Chance Warmack of Alabama. The team also must find some a linebacker or two to flesh out the depth chart and barring an under the radar signing in free agency, the draft might be the place to do that damage as well.
CURRENT DEPTH CHART
Even though losing Jackson is a big blow to the Rams’ backfield, the team did add two capable running backs that it likes very much via the draft last offseason. Both Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead will compete for carries and provide the Rams with enough in that area to get by. The team also needs receivers Brian Quick and Chris Givens to continue developing into top notch targets with more free agent losses. The NFL’s youngest team will only continue to get younger this offseason.
This offseason portrait may not be a Rembrandt or Picasso, but the Rams still have a relatively optimistic outlook on what the 2013 season can become. If they continue to draft well and have a little bit of luck along the way, don’t be surprised if this team is in the running for a Wild Card spot come playoff time next season.