10 Free Agents The St Louis Rams Should Target This Offseason
10 Free Agents To Target This Offseason
For a team that went 7-9 and finished last in its division, the St. Louis Rams are in decent shape entering the 2014 offseason. They seem to have found their running back of the future in Zac Stacy, in addition to some young and promising receivers like Tavon Austin. On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams have a strong front seven and were great at rushing the passer in 2013, which helped them finish the season strong, winning four of their final seven games, including two wins against playoff teams.
That being said, St. Louis is in the toughest division in football and they have a long way to go to catch up to the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, much less leapfrog the 10-win Arizona Cardinals. The Rams will have the luxury of a high draft pick this season, which should help them bring in an impact player, but St. Louis will also have to make some moves in free agency if they’re going to be able to compete for a playoff spot in 2014.
The Rams head into the offseason in good shape at several key spots, but there are still a few specific positions they’ll have to address in free agency. The offensive line is at the top of the list, where they may have to replace most of their starters from 2013. There is also a need at safety, wide receiver, and perhaps a few other positions. With that in mind, here are 10 free agents that the Rams should target during the offseason.
10. Donte Whitner, Safety
There’s nothing better than helping yourself and hurting your division rival at the same time, and that’s what the Rams would be doing if they can pry Donte Whitner away from the San Francisco 49ers. St. Louis needs help at safety, and he would be a good addition regardless of what team he leaves, although taking him away from San Francisco would be an added bonus.
9. Josh Freeman, Quarterback
Are the Rams really going to stick with Sam Bradford at quarterback? Even if they do, they should at least find some competition for him, especially since he’s coming off an injury, and if they don’t plan on drafting someone, it might not be such a bad idea to take a chance on Josh Freeman. He has good size and a big arm, and if his head coach isn’t pushing him out the door, he might actually have a chance to be successful. He shouldn’t be too expensive, so it won’t hurt the Rams to take a chance on him.
8. Vincent Rey, Linebacker
Both Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Will Witherspoon are free agents to be for the Rams this offseason, so if St. Louis needs to add someone at linebacker, Vincent Rey would be a great option. He had a great season with the Cincinnati Bengals, although it’s not a certainty he ends up back in Cincinnati, so if he hits the open market and the Rams end up having a need at linebacker, he’s someone that St. Louis should target.
7. Eugene Monroe, Offensive Tackle
The Baltimore Ravens may try to sign him before he hits free agency, but if that doesn’t happen, the Rams should go to extraordinary lengths to sign him. Eugene Monroe is young enough to anchor an offensive line for years to come, and he could be that player for the Rams regardless of who they end up with at quarterback.
6. Travelle Wharton, Offensive Guard
Travelle Wharton has spent his entire career with the Carolina Panthers, but if Carolina lets him test the free-agent market, the Rams would be wise to go after him. St. Louis needs a veteran presence on the interior of their line to help pave the way for running back Zac Stacy, and Wharton could be just the guy they need.
5. Anquan Boldin, Wide Receiver
Anquan Boldin always seems to end up on a winning team, so signing him this offseason wouldn’t be a bad omen for the Rams. They also need help at wide receiver, and Boldin has been a great playmaker who's capable of some incredible performances, which could really benefit St. Louis considering their inconsistent play at quarterback in recent years.
4. Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver
The New York Giants won’t miss him next year, which means Hakeem Nicks could end up just about anywhere, and that includes St. Louis. With young receivers like Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, the Rams have some speed, but they need a target on the outside to complement that speed. Despite an off year, Nicks is capable of being a No. 1 receiver, which is exactly what the Rams need. Unless they want to spend an early draft pick on a wide receiver, Nicks would be a perfect player for them to target in free agency.
3. Branden Albert, Offensive Tackle
Branden Albert is almost certainly going to hit the open market and would make a great addition for the Rams along the offensive line. He can play either tackle position, so St. Louis could sign him and draft an offensive tackle in the early rounds of the draft without worrying whether or not the player they draft is more comfortable on the left or the right, so Albert would make sense for them in a number of ways.
2. Alex Mack, Center
St. Louis will be remaking their offensive line this offseason, and Alex Mack would be a great guy to bring in to anchor it for them. Unless they want to rely on a rookie or a young player with no experience at center, Mack should be a player they target and work hard to sign.
1. Jairus Byrd, Safety
The Rams need a safety, and Jarius Byrd may be the best one available this offseason. They’ll have to pay big money to get him, but with the pressure the Rams can get on the quarterback, a ball hawk like Byrd could pick off a lot of passes for them, which would make him well worth the money.