Gearing up for the start of free agency on Tuesday, March 12 takes on a different meaning for every franchise. For the St. Louis Rams, their optimistic salary developments in recent days have only continued. The team has freed up plenty of cap space in the past week and that should bode well for a strategic addition or two when the floodgates of free agency are finally lifted.
The release of safety Quintin Mikell was expected by many and it finally came to fruition on Monday morning. The veteran was set to count $9 million against the cap in 2013 and the move saves the team $6 million in cash as well as $3 million on the cap. Set to turn 33 years old in September, Mikell just didn’t fit in with the long-term plans of this Rams team that continues to trend ever-younger.
What this decision does hint at is that the club will certainly be in the market for a safety in free agency or the NFL Draft. One player that would be a win-win is Dashon Goldson of the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers who avoided the franchise tag and is set to hit the market. He will likely command a hefty salary in a bidding war however and that could scare the Rams off even though his addition would go a long way toward solidifying their secondary while detracting from San Francisco’s at the same time.
Another option that makes sense in a connect the dots sort of way is Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas. New Rams defensive coordinator Tim Walton is familiar with Delmas from his Detroit days and the two could have a reunion under the Arch. Delmas is also three years younger than Goldson which fits in with the Rams youth movement and his coverage ability would greatly enhance a secondary that struggled at times in 2012.
The decision to cut Mikell seemed like a foregone conclusion at the onset of the offseason, but the team tried to negotiate a pay-cut for the veteran. That was unsuccessful and now the Rams will be seriously on the hunt for a new safety to fill the void. With the additional cash that the team has freed up in recent days, expect that Rams to be serious players in the free agent market. They may not be in pursuit of some of the so-called “marquee” names, but they will fill some holes with very capable players over the coming days.