The Romberg signing appeals to me on sort of 'devil you know' level. He has a track record with the team, and has been solid if unspectacular. His play down the stretch during the 2006 season, the last good stretch of Rams football since '04, earned him a spot on the roster last season and makes me feel at least mostly comfortable with him in the middle of the line. Last year was only his second in the league. If the Rams do get another center, Romberg gives them good depth at the league minimum. He's also the kind of player that could benefit with some talent around him on the line, the old rising tide lifts all ships theory or the Jacob Bell dividend.
In the recent past, the Rams haven't done well with getting the most of talented prospects like Wroten, Barron, Klopfenstein, Kennedy, etc. or even a free agent with some potential like Romberg. I don't think anyone would argue with that notion; the batting average is just too low. The difficulties of the old regime are well documented, and the tumult of the 2005 season just wasn't the kind of situation where young players are going to grow on their own. Since taking the helm ahead of the 2006 season, Linehan's simply been too overwhelmed as a head coach to make those things happen. This is already a make or break year for Linehan, and add to the list of things that need to happen this year besides winning is the growth and development of talent like Brian Leonard, Tye Hill, etc. There's hope there, and the coaching changes could do much to help the situation. We saw progress from young talent last season with Carriker and Clifton Ryan. That ought to be something to build on.
Who is David Macklin? I had to ask myself the same thing. Here's a few choice words from the Redskins bloggers at Hog Heaven from Feb 2008:
...players of Macklin's stature tend not to hang around past age thirty. I'm sure that he would really like to retire as a Redskin, and he will have the oppertunity to do so, but if he couldn't crack the playing roster with all the injuries in 2007, it's going to take some pretty incriminating photos of Greg Blache for Macklin to make the team in 2008, even if he bothers to go through the paperwork to play another season.
Surely, this is a move about depth, depth for camp. They'll give him a look and use him as a Ron Bartell replacement if Bartell becomes a Fakhir Brown replacement in the best case scenario for Macklin. If they follow our advice and take a corner early in the draft, Macklin might make the practice squad.
I'd definitely hold off on ordering your Macklin jersey.