Not that there will be free agency this year, but if it does actually happen, it's slim pickin's for wide receivers. The New York Jets are said to be focusing their free agent stockpile to re-sign both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. It was widely assumed that the Jets would let Edwards walk and keep Holmes. Such a move would have made Edwards one of the more talented receivers available in free agency, though not without big question marks.
The sacrifice being made to keep both receivers is CB Antonio Cromartie. He'll be allowed to walk, according to Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network. There is still a chance that Edwards will slip away from the Jets. If they were pursue Nnamdi Asomugha, even the Jets might not have the kind of money to sign all three players.
So another potential free agent receiver is probably off the market, if the ends up being a market, leaving the Rams with few options outside of the draft to upgrade their options at receiver.
And what about Cromartie as a free agent? His skill set would fit very nicely with Spagnuolo's physical style of man coverage. Besides his skills, Cromartie also brings a big league mouth with him. Passing the four pillars test might be a problem, and if his schtick was too much for the Jets to deal with after just one season it would certainly be too much for the Rams. It's shame too because the guy has all kinds of talent, just too many mental blocks to put it all together. I even wonder if he couldn't be converted to safety. Tying up precious free agent resources on Cromartie, who probably needs it to tend to his flock of children scattered around the country, is just too risky for the Rams.
The Rams could have drafted Cromartie in 2006, but they opted for Tye Hill instead.
With Bartell and Fletcher, the Rams have two solid starting cornerbacks. They also have some talent behind those two in Jerome Murphy and Marquis Johnson, both drafted last year. For the Rams to be successful going forward they need to make sure those two players start to realize their potential this year.
Back to the receivers. Vincent Jackson is tagged. Sidney Rice will probably get the franchise or the transition tag. With Edwards and Holmes off the market, that would leave a second tier of pretty good players albeit a group with question marks of their own. Malcom Floyd would probably be the best with those guys off the table. The Giants' Steve Smith is another possibility, but his knee injury makes him risky. Mike Sims-Walker could be a good fit for what the Rams are looking for. James Jones is another option, but he's never really lived up to his ability. Most of these guys, if they reach free agency, will command a much bigger contract with the bigger names off the market. In some instances that price tag might be worth it; in other cases it could be just another Drew Bennett type of signing for the Rams.