The unintended consequence of the biggest signing of the offseason (literally and figuratively) for the St. Louis Rams was a disgruntled member of their offensive line. When the Rams inked blindside protector Jake Long to a four-year deal back in March, the word out of the team was that their former left tackle, Rodger Saffold, had yet to contact the club. His lengthy hiatus had many concerned about an unhappy, high-quality offensive lineman heading into his contract year getting traded at some point before or during the 2013 NFL Draft.
That conjecture at this point has been put to rest by the organization as they say they are not interested in dealing Saffold during the three-day selection extravaganza that begins on Thursday evening. Mini-camps came and went without a hitch as Saffold attended and worked out with his teammates. That token appearance suggests that bridges may have been mended between the organization and Saffold heading into the upcoming 2013 season.
Despite their unwillingness to part with Saffold in the upcoming draft, the Rams maintain a desire to deal either up or down this coming Thursday. One would think that the desire to move up would suggest a pursuit of the shifty, playmaking wideout Tavon Austin. As for sliding down, that could be where the Rams would target a potential Saffold replacement in D.J. Fluker.
Although the team is very happy to have Saffold holding down the right side of their line in 2013, they aren’t foolish enough to believe that they can re-sign him this offseason for left tackle money on the right side. Plenty of teams will be looking for a left tackle entering his prime in free agency, and that is exactly what Saffold will be. That makes the desire to land a potential replacement to groom during the upcoming year all the more pressing for the Rams. In addition to Fluker, the team has also shown interest in defensive end Chris Long’s younger brother Kyle Long.
To make a long story short, if you thought the Rams were finished adding tackles this offseason, think again. The tackle position could be a real focus in the draft because teams can never have enough depth at such a crucial position, and it’s never too early to start planning for tomorrow. General Manager Les Snead will be examining all options careful in the lead up to the draft to try and maximize the team’s haul again this time around.