Only in pro sports do you look at the players on the roster over 30 and think 'old and in the way.' As a 30-something myself it seems strange anyway. ESPN's Mike Sando points out in this post that the Rams were the third oldest team in the league last season. Now younger and speedier in the secondary after the release of Corey Chavous, what becomes of the other elderly players on the team, the guys on the other side of that three decade horizon?
Using the list Sando provides of players over 30, we can surmise a few of the players likely to soon join Chavous in the NFL free agent job hunt.
First, the guys with a contract. You can pretty much forget about Bulger going anywhere, even though his name keeps popping up among those who wonder where the Jets might get a veteran QB to replace the veteran QB that disappointed them last season. The futures of Holt and Pace have been much discussed 'round here, with the conventional wisdom now seeing Holt elsewhere and Pace with a possibly restructured contract. DE Leonard Little is also a candidate to restructure his deal, but given the Rams new head coach Steve Spagnuolo's affinity for aggressive rushing defenses, cutting Little, who still has value in a part time QB chasing role, doesn't make much sense.
Sorry, haters, WR Drew Bennett probably isn't going anywhere given that the Rams have to pay him just as much to play elsewhere as to sit on the sidelines in St. Louis. And why not squeeze the last few ounces of productivity out of the guy? He might be just as motivated to prove himself and get one last contract after this season, somewhere else.
That takes care of the much discussed guys on the over-30 list, but what about the others? DE James Hall led the Rams in sacks last season with 6.5. He's two years younger than Little and cost a mere $1.4 million for 2009. Seems like depth worth keeping. Ditto TE Anthoy Becht, the Rams need a blocking TE, and I can't imagine they'll bother retaining Klopfenstein. (In fact, I'll go ahead and predict the Rams carry three TEs next season: Becht, McMichael, and Daniel Fells). S Todd Johnson replaced Chavous as the starting SS down the stretch last season, but he's still more of a solid backup than a true starter. Keep him, I say, at just $1.1 million, but the Rams still need to find a SS. LB Chris Draft is a decent depth guy, but the Rams really don't need another 23o lbs LB. Cutting Draft saves the Rams, a team in desperate need of larger LBs for the middle, upwards of $1.3 million in cap space. Why on earth would the Rams keep QB Trent Green when they can save $1.3 million by cutting him? Can he even play anymore? Somebody ought to be taking this guy out for a four star meal (I recommend Harvest if they eat in St. Louis) and convince him to retire.
That's the list of over-30 players under contract for next season. Sando also lists the guys over-30 who are free agents for 2009. WR/KR Dante Hall is no longer needed here. DT La'Roi Glover is expected to retire. We've talked about some of these guys before in our free agent assessments (offense and defense). The two most intriguing names on that list are CBs Fakhir Brown, who'd probably be a little pricey for the Rams if they pursue another CB, and Jason Craft, who might have some value as depth, but the team can certainly live without him.