Football is almost over, for the season, soon the Super Bowl and Senior Bowl will come and go. All that's left for six months are roster improvements. It's not all bad, free agency and the NFL Draft are big opportunities in this business. It's these two areas where teams improve or fail.
The Rams, they nailed free agency and the NFL Draft last season. This is a new season for this young team, with as many questions as there are answers.
In fact, here are five of the biggest questions that the Rams will have to deal with, before it's time to gear up for the draft.
1. Who will be the Rams defensive coordinator?
This is really important right? Remember when Rob Ryan and the St. Louis Rams were so close to being together, the Rams were going to have to add a new catering service? Well the news fell silent again. There's really no reason to rush. Right now, Ryan is just the guy who got replaced by a man old enough to be his father. It's hard not to think that Ryan is the number one choice. Maybe the Rams are more interested in promoting someone already on the staff.
Regardless, the defense played pretty good without a coordinator last season, and a single figure calling the shots, would be better than coaching by committee.
2. Will Steven Jackson be a Ram in 2013?
Jackson is technically still signed, but he can void his contract. The Rams most likely want to keep him, but his cap hit is $8.89 million. Before the new season, Jackson will be 30 years old. Even though the veteran is getting up there in years, going over 1,000 yards proves that he still has gas left in the tank.
Honestly, $8.89 million is a lot of money to put into an older running back. Still, it's hard imagining the Rams cutting Steven Jackson. I can't see this being anything but a mutual release if this choice happens. Hopefully, they can work out a contract so that Jackson can retire as a Ram.
3. Which free agents will return to the Rams?
I've already detailed this years free agency class for the Rams in an earlier article, so I won't go into as much detail this time around. Not having a lot of cap room, the Rams will want to bring their players back, but only at a cheaper price. Luckily for them the majority of players will be cheap.
The top free agents for this team are Robert Turner, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson and William Hayes. All of those players could have roles on the Rams this season. They should also end up with reasonably priced deals, Amendola being the most expensive.
4. Will the Rams make a surprise cut this season?
You see it every season, an NFL team makes a surprise cut, that shocks the league and the fans. This year it could be the Rams.
Granted there are not many players to choose from. The biggest name could be Quintin Mikell. He turned out to be one of the tops players on defense last season, and I don't think he should be moved. However, he will count $9 million against the cap for the 2013 season, and Jeff Fisher didn't recruit him. Doesn't bode well for him.
5. The Rams can actually sign free agents right?
Surprise, the Rams do have a chance to add players. The players most likely, will be mid level players, or stop gaps. Both William Hayes and Jo-Lonn Dunbar came in with mid-level contracts, and last season they were two of the best players on the defense.
The Rams will be looking to net at least two starters or important role players in free agency. Let's not forget that this team also needs depth at many positions. I would list players that the Rams could sign that would help, but that would take another article just to get organized (look for that on Monday).
Do you think the Rams have more question marks? Or do you think you can answer the above questions? Leave us a comment below.