Sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices. The same applies in today’s salary cap ruled NFL where teams are forced to make tough financially motivated trade-offs in order to improve. There is no better example of that this offseason than the St. Louis Rams and their decision to say goodbye to do-it-all playmaker Danny Amendola in favor of some new faces. Call me crazy, but I think they made the right call.
The Rams began free agency by making a splash in signing free agent tight end Jared Cook from the Tennessee Titans. They outbid the Miami Dolphins (a common theme in their offseason) for his services and believe that he can be a huge part of the offense moving forward. Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s familiarity with Cook from his days in Tennessee will certainly help him to assimilate into the locker room, and in today’s NFL where the tight end position is paramount in many offenses, the Rams are finally getting up to speed.
There was a lengthy lull between the ink drying on Cook’s new contract and the Rams next big signing, but it was well worth the wait. Offensive tackle Jake Long underwent a ridiculously long seven-plus hour physical with the Rams during his three-day stay in the city and eventually got the green light from team physicians to be signed. A contract was negotiated and Long left St. Louis without putting his name on the dotted line causing plenty of angst for the Rams.
It all turned out to be for not however, as the behemoth bookend ended up signing with the Rams on Monday after giving the Dolphins one last chance to beat the offer (hence the theme of the Rams outbidding Miami). The addition of Long not only strengthens the left tackle spot for the team, but it upgrades the entire offensive line. Last year’s left tackle Rodger Saffold will now either kick inside to guard or flip to the other side at right tackle upgrading any of those positions immediately. This signing really was the proverbial ‘two birds with one stone’ move for the Rams that can really vault them into the playoff picture in 2013.
While losing Amendola may not have been ideal, the trade-off was definitely well worth it for the Rams. They have now addressed an offensive line that has threatened to get quarterback Sam Bradford killed since his rookie year and given him a dynamic weapon in the passing game as well. Good luck to everyone on the Rams’ schedule in the upcoming season.