Danny Amendola, Steven Jackson likely to see free agency

Jamie Squire

Two of the St. Louis Rams top players could test the waters of free agency next month.

INDIANAPOLIS - Will the St. Louis Rams reach a deal with Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola before the March 12? That's been the biggest question for the team's brass on hand for the Combine this week. Odds are that both players will be testing the free agent market this year.

"My belief is that when you get to this point, the player's going to see free agency," Kevin Demoff, the team's executive vice president for football operations, said on Saturday. "They've taken the risk, they've played out their contract. There are no games to play between now and March 12. They've bet on themselves and earned the right to go to the market, and they're going to test it.

"I'd be surprised in either of their cases if that didn't happen."

Nevertheless, the Rams have met with each player's representation and will continue to talk. Fisher and Snead both spoke highly of both players on Friday, especially Steven Jackson. Demoff didn't rule out the possibility of re-signing either player prior to that deadline or after.

One difference this year is an official three-day window prior to March 12 that gives teams the right to talk - just talk - to agents before the start of free agency. That rule was approved by the league at the October 2012 owners meeting, an effort to prevent potential tampering.

That window will give Jackson and Amendola a better sense of what teams are interested and just how interested those teams are. But there's always hope.

"You never know until a deal is finalized if you're close or you're far," Demoff added.

One thing factoring into the Rams' offseason plans is the salary cap. Reports have had the Rams anywhere from from $7 million under the cap to squeezed tightly against it.

"I think I was the reports that we were going to be $7-10 million under the cap," Demoff said. "I still think that's where we're going to be.

"You can't look at any team right now and know what their cap situation is, unless you're in their free agent meeting rooms, unless you're in their personnel meetings, unless you know their draft plans. On March 12, everyone has to be under the cap. I still anticipate we'll have roughly $10 million. We could have more if we wanted it; we could have less."

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