Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
If someone told Rams fans to calm down right now, how many middle digits would be flashed out at computer screens?
Percy Harvin is a Seahawk, and Anquan Boldin is a 49er... These aren't cataclysmic events, and you only have to look back a recent history to see it's true. When the Seahawks signed Sidney Rice a couple years ago, everyone picked them to win the NFC West. It didn't happen, but fans of other teams in the NFC West pitched a collective nutty. Anquan Boldin had a great Super Bowl, but does anyone really think he'll make that big a difference for the 49ers when Randy Moss didn't?
The St. Louis Rams haven't made any noticeable move in free agency, but as a fan of the franchise, I can tell you this team has never been big about sharing its plans. While their fans are banging their heads walls that Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola may be gone, they long for free agent moves to compensate for those of division rivals. I'm not all that sure free agency is going to be big for the Rams in 2013, and why anyone else thinks it will mystifies me...
Let's all take a step back to when Jeff Fisher and Les Snead were hired last year. As I recall, they were very up front about their desire to build a winning team, and they more than implied the NFL Draft would be their primary vehicle to do so. Fans cheered Snead's decisive moves when he traded the Rams second overall pick to the Washington Redskins for a boat load of first round picks. These draft choices are earmarked for building a young, talented team - within salary cap considerations - to move the franchise into the future.
Here's the thing: I'm GLAD the Rams didn't trade for Harvin. I think Boldin is a one or two year guy like Moss has been. Do we really want to travel down that road too? The 49ers and Seahawks got a taste of championship blood last season, and they want more. Good for them. How they plan to pay for these player is an issue you may want to ponder too. What made San Francisco and Seattle great last year had more to do with team depth than most realize. Team depth costs that extraneous money they'll need to sign big named player, as well as their coming draft picks in April. Both of these teams are about to change, no matter how hard their fans want to believe otherwise. It's a crap shoot at best when a team signs a big name player, and you know that as well as I do. Harvin has injury concerns, some of which I think are greater than Danny Amendola's. I think Amendola has gotten a raw deal by those labeling him injury prone too. Take a close look at his injuries last season, and you'll see at least one was so freakishly weird the team had to call around the league to see if anyone had every had the same injury in the history of their franchises. They hadn't. Bad luck happens. Does he get the same injuries if the Rams have other valid receiving threats? I don't know for sure, but I'm leaning toward "no".
Steven Jackson is testing the free agent waters, and I'm fine with that for the most part. He has a great relationship with the Rams organization, and I have little doubt he'll re-sign with the team if he doesn't receive a prohibitively big offer in free agency.
The bottom line here is there are so many unknowns, it's a bit premature to set your hair on fire with worry. Jeff Fisher is a sly, NFL savvy coach. He knows the game, and the players he'll need in the coming year. He's shaken hands with his players who leave for other teams many times over the course of his career, and he's moved on. He and Snead know what they need. It's time to sit back and watch how things play out, and they will. The Rams will displace at least one of the teams at the top of the NFC West in 2013. I think they'll do so with the youngest team in the NFL for the second straight season too. They won't jump for a player in free agency whose salary could cripple the team's future. This is going to be interesting to see, so grab some popcorn and watch how things play out.