After last nights sickener it’s time to see just how far Stan Kroenke’s wallet can be prised open.
We have multiple needs and so few draft picks, so if we are going to kick on to the next level we will need to dump the donuts and find starters and depth in Free Agency and the draft to plug the gaps.
I have no qualms being rid of several players. For starters, Laurent Robinson must have dropped his last pass in horns - to think some of us (self included) thought he might make a #1 WR! Jacob Bell has had enough of our money for such poor production. Kenneth Darby has done okay on a few plays, but if SJ39 ever goes down I have zero faith in him carrying the whole load. If Hank Fraley and John Greco can’t beat out Adam Goldberg then they deserve no place on our roster. Daniel Fells has done enough dumb things (dropped catches, continuing to fight for an extra yard run when we needed him to go down to save the time on the clock, etc.) that it’s time to move him on. Anyone who has a migraine that lasts three months without being hit in the head can be shown the door, so goodbye Clifton Ryan. If Mardy Gilyard isn’t bright enough to learn the playbook, I wonder if he is even capable of running in the right direction. Kevin Dockery might have played in our system previously, but he either forgot how to play it or declined so badly that he has to be cut. Finally, while David Vorbora has done admirably as Mr Irrelevant he can be substantially upgraded so no need to renew his contract.
AJ Feeley might have been good for Sam this year, but if Thad Lewis has progressed on the practice squad this year, I’d happily dump Feeley and save the cap space.
To replace the above, starting with Free Agency I'd like Logan Mankins on the right of Jason Brown to shore up the interior line. I’m not sure how he got selected to the Pro Bowl this year, but the Cheatriots running attack improved notably when he returned this year and he didn’t let anyone get their hands on Brady either. While Mankins was rumoured to want $8 million a year, bear in mind we are due to pay Jacob Bell a base salary of $6 million per year for the next three years which would provide a sizeable chunk of cap space. Goldberg can then go back to being a back up. The only thing I don't like about this move is potentially giving Bellicheat yet another top 100 draft pick via a compensatory pick.
Sidney Rice. We need a #1 receiver, as it was ever so bluntly demonstrated last night. We’ll have to pay top dollar for one because we‘ll be competing with Dan Snyder for the best available player, but the fact that Rice still hasn’t been signed to a long term contract suggests we’ll get to have that fight. He is also a high character guy and is familiar with the West Coast offence. What better fit could we want.
Jerome Harrison. A 3rd down back that could competently back up Steven Jackson. Shouldn’t be too costly either.
Barry Cofield. What would a Rams offseason be without picking up a former Giant or Eagle. He is familiar with Spags and Robbins and is actually starting quality. Gary Gibson (if resigned), Darrell Scott and Jermelle Cudjo can fight it out for the other two spots.
While the above will need to be paid for, we will save cap space from the players we dump. We will be picking at 14th overall so won’t be paying top 2 money this year; in 2010 that was a difference of $86 million over 6 years in comparison to $21.1 million over 5 years. Further, given the impending extended season will compensate players by increasing the cap anyway. Couple those points with the fact that we were not one of the biggest paying franchises this year and whether we pick up the above players or not, we should be able to make several splashes in 2011.
Turning to the draft, now that we are picking at 14, we might get a shot at Robert Quinn. Although James Hall was one of only a few who showed up for work last night, he is no spring chicken. Quinn and Hall could rotate for a year until Quinn takes over and bookends with Chris Long for 7 or 8 years.
Round 2. Jimmy Smith CB. I like both Bartell and Fletcher, but both have spent time dinged up. Smith has the size Spags looks for, and would form part of a pretty decent rotation of corners and is certainly good enough to get Dockery off the team. He’d also allow Murphy to move to safety when Marquis Johnson comes back next year.
Round 3. Mason Foster OLB. A high character guy with a great work ethic. A tackling machine, forces fumbles and gets to the quarter back. Should line up nicely next to JL55.
Round 4. Will Hill FS. Atogwe’s contract situation doesn’t convince me he’ll be back next year so we will need someone at FS. Hill may have declared a year too soon, but unless someone like Tyler Sash drops to us, then Hill's potential is worth taking a punt on.
Round 5. Clint Boling OG. Boling has the ability to multiple positions along the O line and has good durability and playing experience. Could replace Jacob Bell at a much lower cost.
Round 7 a & b. BPA or a project player.
So there we are, another pretty drastic overhaul of the roster, that our coaching regime should be able to produce more from than we were subjected to last night. Feel free to rip it up, burn it down or flat out ignore it; it was thoughts in my head and I had to get them out.