FanPost

Year 3- Time to Turn the Corner

Hi
all! Back in November, I wrote a Fanpost entitled "A Look Ahead to the Rams' Off Season - Year 3" (http://www.turfshowtimes.com/2013/11/15/5107066/a-look-ahead-to-the-offseason-year-3) and said I would write a follow up when the draft and free agency was closer. I have finally found the time to write my updated off-season plan. I hope you enjoy the read. Disclaimer: I am not an expert, just a fan who loves the off-season and the analysis and potential scenarios that this time of the year entails. Please feel free to correct me in the comments if you disagree or feel like something is unrealistic or incorrect.
and said I would write a follow up when the draft and free agency was closer. I
have finally found the time to write my updated off-season plan. I hope you
enjoy the read. Disclaimer: I am not an expert, just a fan who loves the
off-season and the analysis and potential scenarios that this time of the year entails.
Please feel free to correct me in the comments if you disagree or feel like something
is unrealistic or incorrect.

As you are aware, the off-season is here and the
excitement for free agency and the draft is palpable. I have loved watching the
Rams improve under Fisher and Snead, and can’t wait to see what Year 3 has is
store. Like many of you, I have been spending far too much time on
first-pick.com. I utilized this site, with a few adjustments that I will
address later, to create a draft for the Rams. I have also outlined a plan for
cuts, resignings, free agency, and restructures. I did my best as far as the
numbers go, but there are some on here far more equipped than I speak to the
salary cap, so please take my analysis with a grain of salt. What follows is a potential
plan for the off-season.

Rams current cap space: $6.8m

Via (http://www.turfshowtimes.com/2014/3/3/5457564/2014-salary-cap-figure-now-set-how-does-it-affect-the-rams)

Cut:

Harvey Dahl (expected)- Creates $4m in 2014 cap space

Cortland Finnegan (per reports)- Creates $4m in cap space immediately, and additional cap space equal to the value of his next contract if he signs elsewhere, if I understand the terms correctly. I am predicting another team picks him up for $3m. So, for the purpose of this post, we’ll say cutting Finnegan creates $7m in cap space.

Total Cap Space created 2014: $11m

Resign:

Rodger Saffold- 4yrs/$25m (approx. $6.25m/yr)

Jo-Lonn Dunbar- 2yrs/$2m (Perhaps a bit below market value, but takes slightly less to not have to move and play for Gregg Williams again)

Kellen Clemens- 1yr/$900,000 (slight pay raise for 1 more year to mentor the rookie)

Shelly Smith- 3yrs/$2m(stays in a familiar situation to provide quality depth)

Cap Hits 2014: Saffold: $4m, Dunbar-$1m, Clemens-$900,000, Smith-$600,000

Total Cap Hit 2014 (Resigned Free Agents): ($6.5m)

Free Agency:

Malcolm Jenkins- 1yr/$1.5m (slight pay cut from making 2.4m last season)

OR

Louis Delmas on a similar deal. I went with Jenkins because he is familiar with Gregg Williams and will likely be a bit cheaper

Brandon Browner- 1yr/$2m (Made just over $500,000 last year. Must prove himself before cashing in on big contact. He may like the idea of facing the Seahawks twice per year)

Kenny Britt-1yr/$1.5m (made approx. $900,000 last year. I feel market for Britt will be a rude awakening, but Fisher gives him a chance to prove himself in a familiar situation)

Numbers via (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl)

Cap Hits 2014: Jenkins: $1.5m, Browner: $2m, Britt: $1.5m

Total Cap Hit 2014 (Free Agency): ($5m)

Restructure

Sam Bradford. I do not understand the logistics of restructuring contracts. Ultimately, I feel it will be in the best interest of the Rams and Sam Bradford to eventually extend his deal, creating cap space and securing their quarterback long term. However, in the short term for the 2014 season, a restructure would help the Rams sign a couple free agents to provide a veteran presence in Gregg Williams’ first year. If it would hamper the team significantly in future years, the Rams should avoid this restructure and spend less money on free agents. However, if the restructure is just a matter of moving money and wording around to create cap space, a restructure would greatly benefit the Rams in 2014.

Draft:

I used first-pick.com for trades, convenience, and fun. However, I deleted some of my picks to make it more realistic numerically. As you will see, this draft is still pretty unrealistic as far as where players fall, but hey, that’s what websites like these are for right.

Two positives I’d like to point out about a draft such as the one that follows:

1) We trade out of the top 10, thereby lowering the contract numbers for each of our first round picks and saving the team cap space.

2) We secure 2 2015 first round picks. Even better, these picks are from two teams, Oakland and Cleveland who have the potential to pick in the top 10 again next season. Side note: If we are able to hit on the #2 pick, whether through a pick or through another trade, I cannot think of a more lopsided trade in NFL history. Thankful we are benefiting from it.

Trade 2 to OAK for #5, 2nd round pick, and 2015 1st

Trade 5 to CLE for #26, 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick, and 2015 1st

Round 1 Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Round 1 Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Round 2 David Yankey, OG, Stanford
Round 2 Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Round 2 Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois
Round 3 A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Round 3 Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Round 4 JaWuan James, OT, Tennessee
Round 5 Bryan Stork, C, Florida State
Round 6 Joe Don Duncan, TE, Dixie St

Money needed prior to 2014 season (operating costs and signing draft class): $10m

Via (http://www.turfshowtimes.com/2014/3/3/5457564/2014-salary-cap-figure-now-set-how-does-it-affect-the-rams)

Your Future Picks:
2015 Round 1 Pick (CLE)
2015 Round 1 Pick (OAK)
2015 Round 1 Pick
2016 Round 1 Pick

Offense

QB:

1) Sam Bradford

2) AJ McCarron (3 CLE)

3) Kellen Clemens

RB:

1) Zac Stacy

2) Lache Seastrunk (3 STL)

3) Benny Cunningham

4) Isaiah Pead (Takes on Reynolds’ special team role)

5) Daryl Richardson

WR:

1) Austin Pettis

2) Chris Givens

3) Brian Quick

4) Tavon Austin

5) Stedman Bailey

6) Kenny Britt

TE/FB:

1) Jared Cook

2) Lance Kendricks (FB)

3) Cory Harkey (FB)

4) Joe Don Duncan (6)

C:

1) Scott Wells

2) Bryan Stork (5)

G:

1) Rodger Saffold (OT)

2) David Yankey (2 CLE)

3) Shelley Smith

4) Barrett Jones (C)

OT:

1) Jake Long

2) Joe Barksdale (G)

3) JuWuan James (4)

Defense

DE:

1) Robert Quinn

2) Chris Long

3) William Hayes (DT)

4) Eugene Sims (DT)

DT:

1) Michael Brokers

2) Kendall Langford

3) Aaron Donald (2 OAK) *Again, unlikely he falls, but could due to drafts DT depth and size

4) Matt Conrath

OLB:

1) Alec Ogletree

2) Khalil Mack (1.13 STL) *Unlikely to fall this far, but excellent value if he does happen to.

3) Jo-Lonn Dunbar

4) Ray-Ray Armstrong

MLB:

1) James Laurinaitis

2) Darren Bates

CB:

1) Janoris Jenkins

2) Brandon Browner

3) Justin Gilbert (1.26 CLE) *Incredibly doubtful he falls here but wouldn’t it be nice?

4) Trumaine Johnson

5) Brandon McGee

S:

1) TJ McDonald

2) Malcolm Jenkins

3) Jimmy Ward (2 STL)

4) Rodney McLeod

Special Teams

K:

1) Greg Zuerlein

P:

1) Johnny Hekker

LS:

1) Jake McQuaide

If I counted correctly, this is a way too early look at what the 53 man roster could look like next season.

I hope you all enjoyed the read. Of course, this is not the most realistic of off-seasons, but a fun conversation starter at the very least. Looking forward to seeing what the Rams do this off-season and seeing the team continue to progress in year 3!

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