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Giants SS James Butler to explore free agency: free agent/Combine afternoon links, 2/19

What offseason? It seems like there's more going hour-by-hour lately than there was every Sunday this fall. I guess for the Rams that's especially true, since 14 of those 16 Sundays ended in disappointment. The prospect of making Sunday's more enjoyable in 2009 is making this offseason that much more exciting. So, what's going on out there that Rams fan ought to be paying attention to? Let's start with some news on the free agent market.

Giants SS James Butler has been told by the team that he should explore free agency. Butler, you may recall, has been discussed here since Spagnuolo was named head coach as a potential solution to the Rams need at SS. Asked about reuniting with Spagnuolo in St. Louis, Butler had this to say:

That's an option. We know 'Spags' is a great coach and he did a great job with the Giants. I'm sure he'll do a great job with St. Louis, too. We'll see.

The Dolphins elected not to use the franchise tag on SS Yeremiah Bell. That doesn't mean they won't try to resign him before next week's free agency deadline. Bell is considered by many the top SS on the free agent market this year. Dolphins RT Vernon Carey could also become a highly sought after free agent.

One free agent option for the Rams at center is Indianapolis' Jeff Saturday, but that may not be a possibility much longer as the Colts and Saturday are picking up the pace of negotiations.

The top of the heap in the free agent market for centers is Baltimore's Jason Brown. With so many marquee free agents to sign, like Ray Lewis and Bart Scott, the Ravens may have to choose to let Brown walk. Pro Football Weekly says the team has a backup plan in moving Chris Chester to center. Bidding for Brown will get expensive.

Reporting from the Combine, Mike Sando notes how lean OT Eugene Monroe.

OT Andre Smith looked checking in today. addressed concerns about his weight. Smith has yet to decide if he'll work out at the Combine.

The other top OT prospect named Smith, Baylor's Jason Smith, made a 'smooth' impression with the media.