5 St. Louis Rams Storylines to Follow Leading Up to Free Agency
5 St. Louis Rams Free Agency Storylines
Taking the next step from finally being relevant again to actually becoming contenders is a difficult task that many teams struggle to complete. For the St. Louis Rams, 2013 was proof of that fact with the team against floundering in mediocrity with a 7-9 record to follow up a 7-8-1 campaign the year before. Though this could be seen as a negative thing for some organizations, St. Louis needs to embrace the sustainability of its current average state.
Now obviously the team doesn’t wish to remain among the middling franchises in the NFL for the foreseeable future, but the Rams can’t get too discouraged over 2013. Starting quarterback Sam Bradford was injured in Week 7 and missed the remainder of the year as a result. This type of absence on offense clearly led to some deficiencies on the scoreboard as the year progressed. The defense went through some growing pains as well, but some positives also emerged on that side of the ball with a few young superstars in the making on the roster.
This team has plenty of young talent just waiting to be fully cultivated, but mixing in the right veteran pieces can truly make the next step possible. That will be difficult given the club’s precarious salary cap standing, but some roster cuts could be made to afford the front office additional wiggle room in free agency.
There are several ways the Rams could approach this offseason, but signing any big-name free agents is unlikely to be one of them. That doesn’t mean the team will be devoid of storylines, however, and these five will be very interesting to keep an eye on prior to the Mar. 11 onset of free agency.
5. Cortland Finnegan Better Get Cut
After an awful 2013, Cortland Finnegan has proven himself to be less of a starting caliber cornerback and more of a punk every single day. It’s time for head coach Jeff Fisher to admit his mistakes in bringing in this high-priced cover guy and let the youth deservedly take over.
4. Defensive Line Could Have Moving Parts
The Rams hold the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft where the incomparable Jadeveon Clowney is expected to be available. Cutting the overpriced Kendall Langford as defensive tackle and possibly even team leader Chris Long could be discussed to free up some cap space. Though signing free agents with that space would be a nice, re-signing 2013’s breakout star Robert Quinn should be where the majority of that cash is allocated.
3. Could Under the Radar WR Be Targeted?
Many are calling for the Rams to add another wideout to their already stacked arsenal, but it won’t be one of the big names on the market in free agency. It would be easy to connect the dots for another Jeff Fisher reunion from his Tennessee Titans days by bringing the troublesome Kenny Britt to town, but the Rams should steer clear of the potential headaches that would accompany such a signing.
2. What Will the Offensive Line Look Like?
If the defensive line seemed like it has plenty of pending upheaval, the offensive line will make that look like child’s play. Highly paid veterans like Harvey Dahl and Scott Wells could be on the chopping block while Rodger Saffold’s impending free agency hangs over the team like an axe waiting to drop. The Rams must prioritize bringing the versatile Saffold back in 2014, especially with Jake Long’s ACL tear occurring so late in the year and his status uncertain to begin the season.
1. Will QB Sam Bradford Get Cut?
Speaking of uncertain statuses to begin the year, Sam Bradford has been the topic of much conversation this offseason. Some have called for him to be cut (myself included), but such a move would be pressing the reset button on the franchise. Though it could yield immediate results (i.e. Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson), it could also set the team back and cost the current regime of Jeff Fisher and Les Snead their jobs. His whopping $17.6 million cap hit in 2014 is going to be difficult to swallow, but cutting Bradford would send shockwaves through the league before free agency begins.