Like everyone else, I've been pretty anxious for the Rams to sign some free agents. We haven't seen to much activity on that front, beyond signing Quintin Mikell to a four year deal worth a maximum of 28 million dollars (with 14 million guaranteed). This was an excellent move by the front office, as not only do they get an underrated safety, but they actually saved money.
Many people thought it was silly of the Rams to release OJ Atogwe, and I can certainly understand that. I've always liked Atogwe and thought he was a better than people thought. But his total salary was around 11 million this year, and he certainly wouldn't have restructured his deal after the mess he went through to get it. For all those math wizards, 12 million minus 11 million isn't exactly enough cash to go after big name free agents.
Could the Rams go after another big name person (Darren Sproles? Brandon Mebane? Malcolm Floyd? even Brandon Lloyd?) with the sort of cash they have now? Probably. The league worked in some verbage that allows teams to go up to 6 million dollars over the cap, and being the skilled negotiator Kevin Demoff is, he could probably get it done if the Rams wanted to spend it all. But that isn't their style. People yelling for them to go on a shopping spree either are thinking up in the clouds, or they don't know anything about the current staff behind the scenes. That isn't to say they've made mistakes or have had perfect track records in the draft; but the Rams thoroughly believe in the philosophy that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you hit the jump, I'll explain what I mean.
While the Rams clearly have inexperienced hands at receiver, it's tough to say whether or not they should have added someone like Sidney Rice. Could he have helped? Definitely! When healthy, he is a skilled and talented playmaker. But while people thinking up dream scenarios, no one stopped to consider what type of offense Josh McDaniels is trying to install. We all think of 2007 as the benchmark for his offensive prowess, yet it appears clear that the offense he is trying to put together is not the same thing. Drafting Lance Kendricks, Greg Salas and Austin Pettis should have made that clear. Sam Bradford already has targets he feels comfortable with, like Illinois Mike and Mark Clayton. Add in a Steven Jackson that used in the backfield, and the Rams have tons of receiving options.
Look at the Jets. They are constantly adding offensive weapons, and many people would probably like to emulate them in terms of their spending habits for free agents. But that is because Mark Sanchez is horrible. The only thing he is good at is hitting on (and maybe doing a little more than that) 17 year olds. They need to surround him with talent because he isn't able to get it done himself. However, Sam Bradford CAN. This is the reason why the Rams don't need some freak of nature at wide receiver. He has players he trusts. He has an amazing running back, who most likely will get a boost in the form of...someone. He has an offensive coordinator who is an excellent QB coach (just look at what he did to Kyle Orton! Oh yeah and that Tom Brady guy) who isn't afraid to call routes that consist of more then 3 yard slants. He is a humble, hard working player. Great running backs and wide receivers can give a team a spark, but great quarterbacks win championships. If the QB is mediocre, you need a hell of a lot to go far in the playoffs.
It is tough to wait, I agree. It is tough to see big names go elsewhere. But they WILL sign players. Nobody has even officially been "signed" yet, so wait it out. If they don't sign anyone after free agency ends and the season starts, THEN you can call them idiots. Not before.