Rodger Saffold is preparing for his first taste of NFL free agency. He's putting himself out there as a multi-tooled offensive lineman with two preferences for where he'd like to play: left tackle or guard. He does not, according to Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch, want to be a right tackle.
That's not a big surprise. Last March, Saffold dropped off the grid for a period of time after the Rams signed Jake Long to man the left tackle spot, setting off a flurry of rumors about trade demands, etc. He came to camp and willingly moved to the right side to start the year, but set his sights on free agency.
The St. Louis Rams made it clear at the Combine last week that re-signing Saffold was a top priority for the offseason. However, it's looking more and more like that may not happen. The team sat down with Saffold's representatives in Indianapolis, but they still haven't made an offer. Thomas' report doesn't expect an offer to come until the last-minute, when free agency opens on March 11.
Other teams can start approaching Saffold on March 8, when the so-called three-day tampering window opens. There are some rules governing that period -- most notably that deals are not allowed -- but that won't stop Saffold from getting a sense of how the market values him.
Offensive line, especially tackles, will be in high demand this year. The Buccaneers, Cardinals and Dolphins have all been reportedly interested in Chiefs tackle Branden Albert. All three of those teams could see Saffold as a potential consolation prize, not to mention the long list of teams needing either a guard or tackle.
Right now, the Rams don't have much cap space. With reports that the ceiling could get pushed to $132 million, that gives them about $6 million, until they start making other moves to free up space. That also means other teams will have more money to spend, and the market for versatile offensive linemen who can play more than one position will be very active.