ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 13: Mardy Gilyard #81 of the St. Louis Rams looks for room to run on a punt return against the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The St. Louis Rams released Mardy Gilyard. Last year's fourth-round draft pick announced the move this morning via Twitter. Gilyard's release is the third move revealed today, Zac Diles and Renardo Foster being the other two cuts. Can Gilyard catch on with another team?
Gilyard's rookie season started slow. An arcane NFL rule preventing players from practicing until their college has had its spring graduation kept him out of minicamp and OTAs last year. He struggled to pick up the playbook. Learning a new offense this year really hurt. The Rams gave him ample opportunities to make his case with special teams work.
Not much more than a year removed from being a top 100 pick in the NFL draft, some team will take a chance on Gilyard. He showed some skill as a gunner on special teams, and that might be enough. If some team out there can develop a limited, simple role for him in its offense, he might stick. The obvious connection is Pat Shurmur. I also wonder if Jacksonville won't give him a call as well.
Releasing Diles, Foster and Gilyard frees up $2.7 million in cap space, according to Howard Balzer. That cap space could come in handy if they want to continue to pursue a player like Joselio Hanson. However, they also like to keep some cap space available for injury replacements, etc. Don't forget, they'll need some room with Mark Clayton back in the fold now. As Long as he is on the PUP list, Clayton's contract does not count against the salary cap (it would count after week six if he were in the last year of his deal, whether he returned to the roster or not).
Another move to keep an eye on as Denver will release TE Dan Gronkowski, a player added by Josh McDaniels. I doubt very much that the Rams would add him. I mention it because Gronk does pass block, and according to PFF, did pretty well in limited reps. If the Rams got really hungry for cap space, Billy Bajema's $985,000 salary might be tempting.
The Rams will not officially announce any cuts until 5 p.m. today, coinciding with the deadline. The players, agents and the media will take care of that for them. Some old school PR by the Rams.
UPDATE: The Rams have released RB Keith Toston, TE Fendi Onobun and RB Chase Reynolds