The best news of the day for hungry NFL fans is that the old rules of free agency will apply this year. That means players with four years of accrued NFL experience will be unrestricted free agents. With those rules in place, the NFL will see a record class of eligible free agents and an orgy of spending. Teams extended RFA tenders to number of players before the lockout in case the no-cap rules of 2010 applied, i.e. six-year free agency. All those tags will mean nothing once the curtain opens for business. It's a reprieve for St. Louis Rams GM Billy Devaney who has several holes left to fill on the roster.
Remember, Devaney said recently that his staff had a plan in place for free agency, whatever form it took. Soon enough, they should be able to get to work on that plan. Now, a quick look at some of the players that plan might include.
DT Barry Cofield - The Giants extended him an RFA tender; it would have been the second one for Cofield because of the no-cap rules last year. He now becomes an unrestricted free agent, available to the highest bidder, or one of his choosing. The Rams have been mentioned more than once as a team potentially interested in Cofield, reuniting him with Fred Robbins to reform the DT duo that anchored the middle of the line for the Giants' Super Bowl win.
WR Sidney Rice - With Vincent Jackson getting the franchise tag, and the plan being to honor those, Rice will be the big catch in free agency. In the midst of all the silly Plaxico Burress and Randy Moss to the Rams talk, I once challenged us to dream bigger. However, I can't imagine the Rams plunking down big bucks to land a receiver, not when they're planning to emphasize the 2-TE sets so heavily. That also means it's unlikely the Rams pursue a free agent WR, beyond Mark Clayton.
Most of the running backs that have been in the conversation for the Rams will not be impacted by the 4-year rules. Darren Sproles, Ronnie Brown, and Cadillac Williams were ticket for unrestricted free agency regardless.
RB DeAngelo Williams - It seems like a stretch that the Rams would sign him, but if they're so inclined, he'll be unrestricted. Williams, despite his injury history, will get plenty of attention on the market.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw - The former Giant whose playing time also coinciding with Spagnuolo's is coming off his best season, with 1200+ rushing yards and 47 catches.
S Quintin Mikell - Soon to be a former Eagle, Mikell was bound for free agency under any set of rules. Will the Rams take a look? They should.
Cofield is the big name to watch since he's one free agent whose status will change as a result of the league returning to four-year rules that has been mentioned most often in connection with the Rams. Because of the free agent limbo not many other names have been mentioned with much urgency in connection with the Rams expect that to change soon.