Going into last evening, and even this morning, their was a vocal contingent among Rams fans who were displeased with the inactivity the Rams have shown since free agency began yesterday.
And that's being nice in some cases.
Sports + internet = hyperbole, yes, but the invective opprobrium was flying higher than I expected. Why? Because the Rams weren't screwing up like they had in years past.
One of the things that always amazes me is how short memories are in sports. Take the Rams and free agency.
You would think that a fan base that added Harvey Dahl, Al Harris, Jerious Norwood, Mike Sims-Walker, Zac Diles and Brady Poppinga ahead of the 2011 season would have soured on the process since, yanno, the Rams followed that up by going 2-14 and firing everyone within earshot.
A year later, with the optimism GM Les Snead and HC Jeff Fisher brought in tow, the Rams filtered through the muck of free agency for Cortland Finnegan, Scott Wells, Vernon Gholston and Ovie Mughelli. They are now all in the NFL Hall of Fame and the Rams have won 14 Super Bowls since those contracts were inked.
And yet, with all of that and the unfulfilled promise of the $35m contract offered to Jared Cook, I guess a certain subset of Rams fans wanted to see buckets of cash rained down for Alterraun Verner, Jairus Byrd, Geoff Schwartz or whomever. I understand the temptation, but we should be willing to commend the front office for resisting finding themselves in a similar situation in two years time.
Often feels like bad teams sign guys just to sign guys. And then they stay bad.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) March 12, 2014
I'm not saying you can't pull in guys who can contribute in free agency. And yes, with Shelley Smith likely joining Saffold and Williams for the great offensive line exodus of 2014, I too feel uncomfortable with the uncertainty we're facing on the line to say nothing of the needs that already exist...or according to Snead don't.
But if the Rams have learned anything from the apparent mistakes of years past and can refill the stocks of whatever elixir gives Offensive Line Coach Paul T. Boudreau his powers, that's free agency enough. And as Bernie Miklasz noted in his piece earlier today, the Rams could do themselves a world of good in making the most of Cook and Kendall Langford, two free agent pickups from years past. Besides, the draft means more to the Rams fortunes, short-term and long.
So fret not, Rams fans. Your team didn't screw up yesterday.
That doesn't just help them avoid the pitfalls hindsight will show us so many other teams have just put themselves in years from now. It means the Rams are improving simply by not shooting themselves in the foot.
That might be the most important step in their re-ascendancy yet.