Wow. An unceremonious end to Orlando Pace's time with the Rams, as the team grants the long-time LT his release today.
This is good for Pace. He'll easily find suitors from a number of teams out there looking for help at left tackle, expect something of a bidding war for his services soon.
Health-wise Pace is a bit of a risk, he hasn't played a full 16 game season since 2005. However, he finished healthy in 2008 and this will be the first off-season in some time that he can focus on keeping in shape as opposed to rehabbing. He's 33, turns 34 in November.
This comes as no surprise, except for the idea that the Rams might have traded him. The Rams are getting younger across the board, and rebuilding the offensive line for the future is now the priority. Pace's release also ups the likelihood the Rams will take an OT in the NFL Draft next month, like Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe.
There's no easy for a team to make this kind of news easier on the long-time fans, but the statement from majority owner Chip Rosenbloom showed real class. And the Rams are making the case for looking ahead, not holding on the past at all costs.
It'll be strange to watch the Rams play with someone other than Pace (or a backup filling in for him, which became the norm) protecting the blind side.
[Note by VanRam, 03/10/09 5:33 PM EDT ] Devaney's on Miklasz' 1380 AM radio show right now, and if can't listen live you can follow via Twitter. Most interesting statement thus far from the Rams GM:
Devaney says this doesn't mean they will zero in on an OT with No. 2 overall pick... AND Alex Barron will be moved to LT immediately.
Of course, that's not a huge surprise. No team would tip their hand this far out from the draft. Too many cards left to play. That said, the Rams picking Aaron Curry wouldn't surprise me much more than the team picking one of the OTs.
Devaney says moving Barron would make Bell the RT (!?) and Greco the LG. Interesting.