The dust is starting to settle on the draft, but plenty of questions remain unanswered for the Rams.
Will O.J. Atogwe be a Ram in 2010?
There's been some consternation over the future of Rams FS O.J. Atogwe, who the team franchised this year. Devaney is on the record stating that the team will try and work out a long-term deal for the playmaker this season. Who knows when to expect that; they've got some work with all the rookie contracts right now. Atogwe's free agency, however, will be a casualty of the now-severed collective bargaining agreement.
Under the new rules, players are required to have six seasons of experience before they become unrestricted free agents. This will be Atogwe's fifth season, making him a restriced free agent after the 2009 season. As a RFA, the Rams can tender him an offer likely at the highest level which would net them 1st and 3rd round picks in the draft should another team choose to sign him, making it unthinkable that another team would dare try to sign him at such a high cost. This year, the highest tender level gave a RFA $2.79 million in salary, far less than the $6.34 million the franchise tag for Atogwe cost the Rams this year. Obivously, it's to Atogwe's benefit to get a long-term deal worked out before RFA time rolls around next season.
What about our OT situation for 2010?
By drafting Jason Smith, a big part of that - literally and figuratively - issue is addressed. The good news for the Rams is their flexibility with Alex Barron, who will be a RFA after this season, like Atogwe. If Barron plays well, they can hang on to him via that process; if he stinks, they can simply forgo tendering him an offer.
Why didn't the Rams trade up for an extra first rounder in the 2010 draft, like San Fran and Seattle?
Getting a first round pick in 2010 was one of the conditions, by all accounts, of trading down from our number two spot. Word is that's what kept Washington from making the move. Part of the problem the Rams had, is that they weren't really in a position to lose draft picks.
If Bulger tanks in '09, will his contract prevent a cut or a trade after the season?
If Bulger tanks (I remain convinced he won't) this season, you won't have to worry about a trade. Cutting him, however, is a very real possibility. They'd eat some money by cutting him, but, similar to the situation with Pace and Holt this season, the Rams would save some cap space, $4.5 million to be exact.
Bulger critics aren't going to like what I have to say next... Ideally, you want Bulger to regain his form, or at least reach a level of competency where he's not a liability. In that situation, the Rams could find their next QB, and let him sit behind Bulger for a year or two to learn the ropes.
Can the Rams get a WR in free agency next year?
It's likely. Though teams will retain many of these guys, there are some intriguing names out there right now including Antonio Bryant, Michael Jenkins, Vincent Jackson, Lee Evans, Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, and even Larry Fitzgerald. Like I said, many of those guys will be re-signed by their teams, but there should be a few possibilities for the Rams to jump into a bidding war over their services. Of course, there's always the draft...
More questions? Get 'em in the comments and we can all mull it over.