Making changes is hard, but making changes unwillingly is even more difficult. Following their spending bonanza in free agency, the St. Louis Rams will be looking to left tackle Rodger Saffold to shift over to the right side and make way for newly inked Jake Long. The rift between the team and Saffold was highly publicized at first with the silent treatment being mentioned as the former left tackle gave his team the cold shoulder. While all is not well in St. Louis just yet, it appears the water has begun to flow under the bridge.
According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saffold will be present for the team’s minicamps, OTAs, training camp, and preseason despite not being thrilled over the switch to the right side. It seems that Saffold at least understands he can only do more harm to himself by holding out this offseason with his contract set to expire following the 2013 season.
As for the Rams, they could potentially look to shop him later on in the offseason or in the early part of the 2013 regular season if they find a new right tackle in the NFL Draft. The team has had several prospects in for visits, but perhaps the most notable of those is former Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker. He is a massive man at 6’5” 339lbs. and played the right side for the Crimson Tide paving the way for rushing success by Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy in successive National Championship seasons for Bama.
Some believe that Fluker may be a target for the Rams with their second first round selection at number 22 overall. I still maintain the idea that the team will look to trade down from one of their first round picks, and it could quite possibly be moving down from 16 into the latter half of round one to add Fluker and potentially his Bama teammate in Lacy.
Regardless of what transpires in the draft, it seems increasingly unlikely that Saffold will be with the Rams beyond this season. That certainly sets up the possibility of trading him at some point prior to the deadline midway through the 2013 season. There may still be plenty of moving parts along the St. Louis offensive line, but all of those components appear to be significantly upgraded from a year ago just by the addition of Long at left tackle. While Saffold’s beef with the team remains an issue, it won’t really dictate their decisions in the upcoming draft one way or the other.