The Rams, perpetually in need of wide receivers, could lose their two best in free agency.
It seems like the St. Louis Rams always need a receiver. Imagine then the irony of the team's top two receivers leaving via free agency next month. Really. Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch dropped a few ominous tidbits about the fate of Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson in his weekly chat with readers.
Let's start with Gibson. Here's what Thomas had to say about the 25-year old who led the Rams in receiving yards and touchdowns.
Gibson had his best season as a Ram in 2012. Even so, I don't think he'll be back.
Through four seasons, Gibson has two years with 600+ yards. It's not a huge total, but his age and flashes of talent, as well as the iffy circumstances surrounding his time in the Rams offense, will make him an interesting option for receiver needy teams.
So how much could Gibson command on the market? If I were his agent, my asking price would start along the lines of the four-year, $25.9 million deal the Chargers gave Robert Meachem (whoops). He had a similar level of production in his four years with the Saints, a team with a much more stable offense than the Rams had during Gibson's time in St. Louis.
Gibson probably would not get that much, but he could fetch something in the neighborhood of $3 million per season.
Amendola is the wild card. The Rams could franchise him, but a one-year, $11 million salary is a bit out of the team's price range, as it should be. Here's what Thomas said about Amendola:
I do think it will drive up the price on Amendola. And if it rises to $6 million or $7 million a year, I don't think the Rams will be buyers.
Ask yourself who the better receiver is, Amendola or Gibson? You'd probably say Amendola, and you're probably right. He catches the ball well, and showed a much wider range of ability this season, before injuries torpedoed it, just a year after he missed all but a few snaps in one game. Gibson owns better career stats than Amendola.
Amendola looks an awful lot like Wes Welker, in more ways than one, which helps his case. He also enters a market thin on receivers, which could net him a better deal. His injury history is a risk, but it's not hard to see some team giving him a deal that averages out to $6 million per season, even on a shorter deal because of his injuries.
Re-signing both Amendola and Gibson almost certainly seems out of the question given the cost. Picking up Titus Young adds an experienced receiver - albeit a wild card - to the mix as a replacement.