Free agency hasn’t exactly started with a bang for fans of the St. Louis Rams, but there is some news brewing that threatens to change that. Offensive tackle Jake Long is set to visit the team Tuesday night and many believe that a contract will be hammered out during those conversations. While this is all just speculation at this point, let’s take a look at exactly what Long can offer to a team like the Rams.
The Rams’ offensive line has been leaky to put it mildly during quarterback Sam Bradford’s three years in the league. The former first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft has been sacked a staggering 105 times in just 42 career starts with the team. Adding another former first overall selection like Long to secure the blindside of the offensive line would be extremely advantageous for Bradford’s development as a passer.
A move like this would also greatly enhance the Rams offensive line as a unit with just one signing. Bringing in Long would allow Rodger Saffold to slide over to the right tackle spot, giving the team solid bookends. With no right tackles on the current depth chart, this move basically fills two holes with one signing.
If Rams COO Kevin Demoff was being sincere in his comments at an MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, he may have hinted at another reason why this acquisition would make a ton of sense. According to Demoff: “If you have $8 million to spend in free agency, you might be better off spending $7 million on one guy and $1 million on the other than buying two players at $4 million.” This philosophy would certainly apply as the Rams don’t have a tremendous amount of flexibility under the salary cap this offseason, but adding Long could be the one piece they need to take that next step as a franchise.
Obviously signing Long would have a huge impact on the Rams’ thoughts in April’s NFL Draft as well. The team holds both the 16th and 22nd picks and taking a lineman has seemed like a foregone conclusion with at least one of those choices to this point. If Long is added however, that needed ceases to be as pressing and would free up the team to add a safety or replace their own free agents in Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson at wide receiver.
There are plenty of moving pieces still in flux at this point in time, but a deal with Long seems more likely given his impending visit with the Rams on Tuesday evening. It’s clear to see just how much adding Long to the Rams roster would mean to the team, but it will be interesting to see if it actually comes to fruition. Stay tuned to Rant Sports for any breaking news regarding this potential deal between Long and the Rams.