When Jeff Fisher came to St. Louis, the first thing he did was add players to the secondary. Fisher drafted Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins, and he brought corner back Cortland Finnegan with him from the Titans. Finnegan was undersized for a pretty good, feisty corner who specialized in being physical and talking trash.
Cortland started his career with the St. Louis Rams pretty good. Then slowly his play started to fall at the end of his first season with the Rams. Then last season, he just looked like a different player. According to Pro Football Focus, Finnegan was the 2nd worst corner in the league. Apparently even before the season there were signs of Cortland slowing down.
The Rams feel he looked slow in 2013; one St. Louis source told Rapoport the team saw it in training camp last season.
Cortland Finnegan looked slower last year. He’ll need to show up ready. But cutting him saves $4M vs. the cap. Pay cut could save them more— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 17, 2014
So what's left for Finnegan and the Rams? Well, there's really only two options:
The Rams could decide to keep the veteran for position depth. He would have to take a pay cut if he does stay with the Rams. Obviously, Fisher really likes Finnegan, so unless something really negative happens, expect him to at least show up for off season workouts before the Rams figure out what to do. If Finnegan takes a good sized pay cut, there shouldn't be much problem with him staying on the team. He can't play worse than last year, right? He does seem like a player who could mentor and help the Rams young secondary. But how much does mentoring and being a leader count when your play has fallen?
Let him go
Sometimes you just have to know when to fold your cards. He was slower and played horrible last season before ending the season with a fractured orbital bone . We don't know the extent of the injury, but it was bad enough to sideline him for half the season. Combine his issues with a high cap hit of around $10 million, and it's really hard to picture the Rams bringing back Finnegan when they could upgrade the position through the draft and free agency.