Judge Susan Nelson is the last best hope for getting the 2011 NFL season back on track. It's in her court room where the next major battle of the NFL lockout will take place, when she hears the players' motion on April 6 to grant an injunction lifting the lockout. Albert Breer from the NFL Network wrote today that most expect the judge to rule on this quickly. Free agency would open right on the heels of that decision. Good news for teams like the St. Louis Rams who will need free agency to fill big holes on their roster.
Since the departure of Oshiomogho Atogwe, the Rams have pretty big hole to fill at safety, a position of need before they released Atogwe. One safety that will be on the market this year is Oakland's Michael Huff. Since the Raiders did not tender the five-year veteran an offer, he will not be effected if/when the league reverts to six-year unrestricted free agency rules under the injunction.
Huff had a great year last year with 3 INTs and 4 sacks. Pro Football Focus ranked him as their third best safety in coverage last season. He'll be 28-years-old for the 2011 season, younger than Atogwe. I can't imagine he'll come cheap, but his annual cost won't be the same as the $11 million due to Atogwe had the Rams not let him go.
Another option that might be less expensive given his age, Eagles S Quinton Mikell. According to the same PFF post post linked above, Mikell was their top rated safety last season.