In a bit of surprising news, the St. Louis Rams have placed veteran corner back Cortland Finnegan on injured reserve; effectively ending his season. Finnegan is being placed on IR as a result of an eye injury, which has kept him sidelined all week.
Rams activate rookie safety T.J. McDonald from injured reserve/designated for return list. Corner Cortland Finnegan (eye) placed on IR.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) November 23, 2013
The season-ending injury comes as a surprise, not only because of how well the team downplayed it, but that the news arrives having come off a bye week. This season hasn't been a kind one for Finnegan, especially in comparison to his solid play in 2012. This year, he's been a constant target for opposing quarterbacks, and was allowing them to complete more than 76% of passes against him, to go a long with a QB rating of 136.
Having missed time [due to injury] earlier in the season, Trumaine Johnson replaced Finnegan as an outside corner, and he's been relegated to playing in nickel formations. The Rams, however, have used more 4-3 base defense recently, and have started utilizing safety, Rodney McLeod, as a slot corner at times. Both of these trends will more than likely continue. Additionally, head coach Jeff Fisher has mentioned in the past that rookie corner, Brandon McGee, could see snaps on the outside. It could be interesting to see Janoris Jenkins play slot corner.
What happens next with Finnegan is anyones guess. He didn't play well this season, although he hasn’t been getting abused in recent weeks like he was earlier in the year. The Rams will need some cap room next season and what better target [to free up precious space] than a player who hasn't played well? He is a "Fisher guy," and he did sign a big 5 year, $50 mil deal to come to St. Louis. Will the Rams force him to take a pay cut, or will they just cut him from the team? It's doubtful they keep him at his current deal, but you never know.