Tucked away at the bottom of this piece on the Oshiomogho Atogwe deal, Jim Thomas says that the St. Louis Rams were close to a deal with free agent WR Mark Clayton. Getting the deal done before the possible lapse of the CBA, which is less likely now, gives the Rams some certainty in these uncertain times. It also hews with what the Rams have been publicly stating for some time, that they intended to bring back Clayton. The two sides have been talking for some time.
The former Baltimore Ravens' first round pick was acquired by the Rams right before the season last year to replace Donnie Avery. Clayton quickly established a connection with rookie QB and fellow OU alum Sam Bradford. Clayton was on pace for a career season before suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Lions.
Returning Clayton gives the Rams a decent, but questionable group of receivers, one with more injury questions than on-field answers. Re-signing Clayton complicates the free agency picture for the Rams. The most likely option for the Rams in free agency would be finding a bigger bodied, taller, jump ball kind of guy, probably a possession type that gives them an upgrade over Brandon Gibson. Mike Sims-Walker is one of the more known commodities in that role. It's hard to say what exactly the Rams are looking for at WR. The truth is they need upgrades at the position regardless how you break it down, flanker, split end and to a lesser extent in the slot.