The St. Louis Rams have their new general manager, hiring Les Snead away from the Falcons to work with head coach Jeff Fisher. Their task: turn around a team that's been used and abused for some seven years, spanning three different leadership cabals. Most of the roster moves during that span are limited to wasted draft picks, bad free agent moves, and watching young talent walk away for reasons unknown. Snead, Fisher, et al now turn to the task of evaluating the current roster, studying college prospects and parsing what the free agent market has to offer.
Free agency is still a month away, March 13. Already the news and rumors are circulating, because second-by-second news abhors a vacuum, as all 32 teams start making contract decisions. Here's a look at some of the looming free agent situations that could impact the Rams roster in the weeks ahead.
Wide receiver actually looks like it might be among the deeper positions on the market this season. We've talked about Vincent Jackson likely leaving San Diego, but Jackson is hardly the only headliner in the group.
Marques Colston could be the odd man out in New Orleans. The Saints have some major contract issues to settle, starting with quarterback Drew Brees. He'll either get the franchise tag or a hefty contract, eating up a considerable amount of resources. Guard Carl Nicks is another big free agent question. Nicks is one of the better guards in the league right now, and the Saints will likely have to choose between Nicks and Colston, according to the National Football Post.
In that same NFP column, Dan Pompei notes the looming free agency of 49ers wide receiver Josh Morgan. He has the makings of a good possession receiver, and in a more dynamic offense he might really reach his potential. Will the 49ers let him get away?
As far as the Rams are concerned, cornerback Courtland Finnegan has been a name to keep an eye on this spring. Eagles corner Asante Samuel might be another one. The Eagles are expected to try and trade Samuel, though their asking price from a year ago, two second-day draft picks, will drop. Samuel has a hefty contract, $9.4 million in 2012, that would likely require some rejiggering. Samuel plays an off-man style, more of a zone worker, and looks for the interceptions. He has 19 picks in his last three seasons, including just three last season as the Eagles' high-priced acquisitions moved him into a third corner role. Gregg Williams' defense prizes off-man corners who prey on errant throws.