The St. Louis Rams will have Danny Amendola back in action this week, with just eight games left in the 2012 season. In a couple months, the Rams will have to grapple with the question of whether or not the wide receiver will be in uniform for the 2013 season. Hint: it's probable.
Amendola is ticketed for unrestricted free agency after this season. Rams Executive VP Kevin Demoff said recently that the team plans to sign him to a long-term deal before he hits free agency. He also said that the team projects to be $7-10 million under the salary cap heading into next season.
That's a decent amount of cap space to work with next season, and the details of Demoff's projections aren't clear. For instance, does that include the Steven Jackson contract situation? Jackson can opt out of the final, $7 million year of his deal or the Rams could nix it.
Extensions for Chris Long and James Laurinaitis will cost the Rams $13.25 million for the defensive end and $1 million plus an $11 million roster bonus for the linebacker. Sam Bradford's deal pays him $9 million next year.
Amendola is the most notable free agent next year, but there are a couple other names to consider. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher's deal is up after the season. With the kind of season he's having, Fletcher could very well command a solid mid-tier contract on the market next year. Don't forget, Steve Spagnuolo and the Saints need corners. Brandon Gibson is also a free agent in 2013.