What was once a gigantic salary cap space, has now dwindled down to roughly $10 million with the contract extensions of Chris Long and James Laurinaitis. However, with the possibilities of restructuring contracts i.e. Quintin Mikell and Wayne Hunter to name a few possibilities, the Rams have the abilities to continue to work to fix the holes that remain on this roster.
Assuming that the Rams are able to restructure the contracts of a few of the players on the roster or possibly cut them, I have come up with a possible off-season plan for the Rams.
Key Free Agents
Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson (WR) - Try to resign both players, however, only at the right price. Amendola has shown to be a valuable weapon for Bradford but you can't look past his injury history. Having played with Bradford since their rookie seasons, Gibson would be a great receiver to bring back for depth at the position.
Craig Dahl (S) - Do NOT resign. Dahl has been a liability in pass coverage and has cost the team a few big runs by taking bad tackling angles.
Barry Richardson and Robert Turner (OL) - Try to resign both players. Richardson did a pretty good job as he probably played the best he has ever had. However, I have a feeling that he might to look to join another team to start if the Rams do indeed get a tackle with one of their 1st round picks. Turner should be brought back for depth and could fill in at center as well as the guard position.
William Hayes (DE) - Hayes was significantly underpaid. He is sure going to be getting a big pay raise. Unless coach Fisher can persuade him to stay for somewhat of a discount, he probably will be able to get a better deal elsewhere.
Prediction - We sign Amendola, Gibson, Turner, and McIntosh. Dahl, Richardson, Hayes, and Haggan are out or join other teams.
Other Teams' Free Agents
Greg Jennings (WR) - I know he has Miami written all over him with Coach Philbin and the amount of cap space that the Dolphins have, but hear me out. The Rams certainly have some talent now with Givens, Quick, and even Pettis, but I feel like they need a veteran receiver that can show these young guys how things are done on Sundays. Jennings has always been a team player and having him here would do wonders for not only Bradford, but for the young WRs who are in need of a veteran presence. If they can figure out the right contract and have Coach Fisher persuade him to come to St. Louis....
Jared Cook (TE) - A big athletic tight end that Jeff Fisher drafted. Would be a good complement to Kendricks as he is much bigger at 6'6" and has possible big play ability. Whether its a wide receiver or a tight end, another weapon would certainly help the offense function better.
Andy Levitre (OT) - Guard from the Buffalo Bills. He has been terrific in helping open up running lanes for Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller and would fit in nicely at LG. The question is, how much is he looking for and if the Rams are willingly to come to terms with him.
Prediction - Jennings is convinced by the coaching staff in St. Louis to come to town and for a reasonable, say 3-4 year deal. Signing Jennings would make it difficult to also sign Cook or Levitre given the Rams salary cap.
2013 NFL Draft
Round 1 Pick 16 - Eric Fisher (OT) Central Michigan - Huge tackle with great upside. Would need to develop more and possibly could start at RT at first. But given the job the coaching staff did with the talent on the offensive line this year, they could make it work with this kid too!
Alternate choice - Chance Warmack (OG) Alabama
Round 1 Pick 22 - Tyler Eifert (TE) Notre Dame - This would be huge for the offense. It would give the Rams a dimension at TE that they don't have in Kendricks. Bringing in Eifert would also help improve the red zone offense.
Alternate Choice - Kenny Vaccaro (S) Texas
Round 2 Pick 46 - Eric Reid (S) LSU - He would provide a huge upgrade for this team. He has shown to have the cover skills and the ability to play in the box needed to be a very good safety in the NFL.
Alternate Choices - Matt Elam (S) Florida, Zach Ertz (TE) Stanford, David Amerson (DB) NC State
Round 3 Pick 78 - Arthur Brown (LB) Kansas State - Brown has shown to be an exceptional leader and although a little undersized, he has shown to make plays. Getting him this late in the draft would be exceptional value for Les Snead. However, I think the closer we get to the draft the higher he will move up draft boards.
Alternate Choices - Chase Thomas (LB) Stanford, Bacarri Rambo (S) Georgia, TJ McDonald (S) USC
Obviously, I have no idea what is going on in Jeff Fisher and Les Snead's heads this point, but this is just my speculation at this point in time on how might things turn out in the off-season. If it turns out to be the case, I sure wouldn't mind. Go RAMS!!!! Feel free to leave comments to let me know what you think about this.