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Don Banks from Sports Illustrated shed some light on the Rams' offseason plans recently.
Don Banks' offseason preview for the St. Louis Rams got some play here the other day because of what Sports Illustrated's senior writer had to say about the team's free agency plans at receiver. Notable, but that was hardly the only tidbit of information packed into Banks' post.
Let's take a look at the other nuggets of offseason whispers he left us.
Steven Jackson's future with the team
Jackson rejecting his option with the Rams and exploring the market has quietly become conventional wisdom. Banks noted that the Rams are open to the idea of bringing Jackson back, but at a team-friendly price. It looks like another team might be willing to do more with Jackson than the Rams, including giving him more playing time. St. Louis is expected to press Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson into more work this year. Drafting another running back is a possibility too.
Rodger Saffold to right tackle?
I'm not the biggest fan of this idea, but versatility is nice too. According to Banks, the team will consider moving Saffold to the right if they can land one of the draft's top tackles, including Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, who was projected to the Rams in the latest mock draft from SB Nation.
Signing a free agent is another option for the Rams. The market for tackles could be strong this year, which also means it could be a market rife with good deals.
The Rams know they need playmakers on offense, players for Sam Bradford to work with and finally score some points. However, the team does not sound willing to reach for help at those positions.
That's fairly obvious considering the previously reported news that the Rams will not overpay for free agent help, not even Danny Amendola. It also means no reaching in the draft.
Why? The Rams really believe in second-year players Brian Quick and Chris Givens. The team expects both of those players to increase their role in the offense this year. Givens turned in a promising rookie season, but Quick was slow to pick up the NFL game. A rookie receiver struggling isn't a new thing, but when Jeff Fisher and the front office spent so much time talking up Quick, it made put his debut season under a microscope.
Believing in Bradford
There's no question that Fisher et al feel pretty strongly about their quarterback, and Banks echoed that in his article.
Another positive from last season was the resurgence by third-year quarterback Sam Bradford, who shook off the disappointment and injuries of his 2011 to post his best overall performance so far: 21 touchdowns, 3,702 yards, with just 13 interceptions and a 59.5 completion percentage. Bradford didn't have enough weapons at his disposal, but he played well under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's guidance (his third coordinator in three NFL seasons) and put to rest any concerns that his strong rookie showing in 2010 was a fluke.
GM Les Snead said that this was not a make or break year for Bradford. True, but if the Rams upgrade the offensive line and add legitimate offensive weapons, it could well be a breakthrough season for Bradford.
Tight end help is coming
Banks noted the potential first-round picks at tight end, including Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert. He was also pretty clear on potential free agent targets.
Jared Cook may get the franchise tag from the Titans, for the relatively low cost of $6 million for 2013. If not, he's a pure pass catcher that would really help the offense by adding one of those coveted playmakers. Jets tight end Dustin Keller is another, less attractive option. Coming off a bad season for a bad team, and plagued by injuries, Keller might be a low-cost option for the Rams if he sees a chance to reunite with Brian Schottenheimer and get back up to his old level of play.
Laugh at Keller at you want, but he did help make Mark Sanchez look reasonably competent for a time.