Update [2007-3-3 19:17:15 by VanRam]: It's official, Rams signed Bennett this morning while we were dissecting the rumored deal. Six years, $30 million.
Reports circulated far and wide yesterday that Drew Bennett was visiting the Rams to explore signing with them as a free agent. Considered by some to be the market's premier WR and considered by some to be a bust waiting to happen.
Yesterday, the Nashville Tennessean was expecting Bennett to be inked by the Rams before the end of the day. There are no reports suggesting that a deal was completed.
Bennett's not coming to STL to be a #1 receiver. Many, including the article cited above, thought that Bennett would get overpaid and underperform as a #1, but in STL he's free of any such expectations. Here, he'll be a well-paid role player, that gives the Rams two #2 receivers.
As far as the draft goes, by signing Bennett the Rams can pick a WR outside of the first round, speedy enough to assume a the returner role now and develop as a WR under the tutelage of three amazing teachers.
Thinking more about the potential Bennett signing and Curtis leaving (possibly for Detroit), I'm less convinced that letting Curtis go is about money. Bennett could command as much on the FA market as Curtis, easily. However, Linehan we know likes more size for his slot receiver. Curtis is 5' 11" and 186 lbs. Bennett is 6' 5" and 205 lbs. Both play similar roles in an offense. Six inches and almost twenty pounds later, the dollar difference will be minimal, especially for a team with more than $22 million in cap space. Bennett will be the Rams tallest WR, standing above, literally, Holt and Bruce who are both 6' even.
Linehan is remaking the team, molding it to his vision as that vision develops. Replacing Curtis with Bennett gives him a big guy to take the abuse heaped upon slot receivers. Bennett can also be a really nice complement to the smaller and faster receivers he'd play with on the Rams, and could put up some nice numbers in that role. Curtis's leaving and the Bennett signing, if it happens, each fit into a pretty well thought out plan on the part of Linehan and his staff, and this years Rams will continue to evolve into something different than we've seen in a while. The jury's still out on Linehan, but so far what we're seeing looks pretty good.