As the Rams begin contract talks with Rodger Saffold, with management publicly emphasizing that re-signing him is their top FA priority this offseason, it felt pertinent to ask my fellow fans: Who, out of our current FA starters, is a "must-keep" player?
C Scott Wells has performed well, but age and injury history, as well as the depth behind his sizable cap hit, make him a questionable candidate.
The tandem of Chris Williams and Shelley Smith has been a consistent enigma - competitively trading off at each guard spot, but neither really besting the other on the field, or proving himself invaluable to the team in general.
Harvey Dahl has provided several solid seasons at RG, and some entertaining moments on the field, but cheaper options Williams and Smith could edge him out.
Saffold is another prime candidate for taking over at RG - his athleticism and production have hinted at his potential to become far-and-away the Rams' best offensive lineman. His versatility - being downright serviceable, though not stellar, at either tackle position - is by far his best quality, and past questions about his toughness have been laid to rest.
So my vote falls in with management's. Saffold is the top "must-keep" on OL this year, and especially if we shed Dahl and Wells, we may have the cap space to keep him, Smith, and Williams. My ideal OL for 2014 looks like this:
Long - Williams/Smith - Jones - Saffold - Barksdale
With a healthy Long, we can afford to start Barksdale at RT in order to take advantage of Saffold's speed and power at RG.
What do you think?