Yesterday, I put pen to paper and tried to figure out the Rams' remaining cap space. For a guy who has yet to file his taxes and keeps a poor checkbook, it was a monumental effort. And I came up with somewhere around $12 million as it stands right now. Mind you the Rams still may resign Matt Turk and Kacyvenski - we hope - which would lower their cap amount by a few million. Over at the Post-Dispatch Rams talk forum, a poster has done a really good job with this multi-headed task, even going so far as to figure in the costs of signing players in the draft.
Here's the link.
When all is said and done, that poster is figuring on about $7.5 million for remaining upgrades, essentially giving the Rams an opportunity to sign a major player (Robaire Smith for instance) and a couple of depth players. The Rams haven't generated much buzz in the offseason, with several of their moves seeming to pop up out of nowhere (McMichael particularly), and news of players visiting St. Louis is lacking. I doubt Linehan et al are finished - they can't be, can they? But I suspect there's more going on behind the scenes than we realize, including some serious draft scouting and prep. There'd better be, Because the Niners have made significant upgrades to their defense through free agency, expecting to challenge Seattle and the Rams for the division title. If the Rams don't make one more significant acquisition, at DT, those high powered upgrades to the offense won't matter much and will end up looking just plain silly - déjà vu all over again.
For some inside info into the lack of defensive signings, I found this little tidbit from Bernie Miklasz. Per Bernie, the Rams leadership doesn't think highly of the DT talent still on the market, which I'm going to interpret as they don't like what's available at the prices it's available for right now. (Someone should tell them this is the NFL, where you overpay for everything!) This means they could wait, and see who's available late when bargaining might favor the team a bit more. Here's what stood out though:
Gulp. That's a little alarming, but sounds like, based in part on the signings the Rams have made so far, that Colts comparisons might be floating through office talk at Rams park.
As far as unrestricted free agents go - including this authors endorsed pick of Craig Terrill - there's word floating around the league about teams being reluctant to use the so-called poison pill, in which they offer a RFA a contract that the other team can't possibly match while having no intention of honoring the full contract. It's become a dicey issue with GMs, agents, and everyone's favorite players union.
There's an interesting post at ProFootballTalk today dealing with this issue and featuring a quote from an agent confirming that teams are reluctant to use the poison pill. Here's that info: