The first day of free agency usually starts off as a very exciting time for most fans around the league, regardless of their respective team. Unfortunately, one word that could be used to describe the first day of free agency as a Rams fan would be disappointing.
As expected, the Rams top priority T/G Roger Saffold left St. Louis for a five-year, $42.5 million contract with the Oakland Raiders. Spending $8 million per year for a player who is constantly injured is a bit out of the realm of reality for the Rams, given their current cap situation. However, Saffold’s on field production will certainly be missed.
The Rams also struck out on their top three free agent targets. The New Orleans Saints and All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd agreed on a six-year, $56 million contract. Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to terms on a four-year, $26.5 million deal. Guard Geoff Schwartz, who would have been a decent conciliation prize for losing Roger Saffold, agreed to terms with the New York Giants.
There was more bad news for the Rams in terms of players associated with other teams in the NFC West. The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks kept their pass rush in tact by resigning defensive end Michael Bennett to a four-year, $28.5 million deal earlier in the week.
The Seahawks also have a visit scheduled with former Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. He has yet to be cleared to play after suffering a bruised spinal cord. With that being said, once he is cleared to return to action, he will be a beast for whatever team chooses to sign him.
The San Francisco 49ers agreed to terms with former Colts Pro Bowl safety Antoine Bethea on a four-year, $23 million deal, after allowing Donte Whitner to become a free agent, and ultimately sign with the Cleveland Browns.
The 49ers also made a sneaky good move, trading an undisclosed draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for guard Johnathan Martin, a former second round pick. This is a perfect fit for both Martin and the 49ers, not to mention the value in the trade and potential return on investment. Martin is going to a veteran looker room, led by his former college coach who will undoubtedly get the most out of a player with a lot to prove. At the very least the 49ers added valuable depth to their offensive line, which is something the Rams cannot say at this point. Pray that day two of free agency is a better day for the St. Louis Rams.