If the NFL reverts to its old rules for free agency, the ones that allow a player to become an unrestricted free agent after just four years of experience, St. Louis Rams GM Billy Devaney has some decisions to make regarding the team's current roster. Like most teams, they handed out a handful of RFA tenders just case the league operated under the 2010 no-cap rules which required a player to have six years of experience before unrestricted free agency.
TE Daniels Fells, DT Gary Gibson and WR Laurent Robinson all received RFA tenders from the Rams prior to the lockout. Under the four-year rules for free agency, those players will be unrestricted free agents. Will the Rams make an effort to re-sign any of those guys?
It seems unlikely that the Rams would bring back Robinson with so many receivers on the roster and the likelihood of the team re-signing free agent WR Mark Clayton. I think they have to make an effort to re-sign Gibson, given their need for depth at defensive tackle, though they could find help elsewhere via free agency, e.g. Barry Cofield. Fells would likely generate some interest on the market. He did last year with both New England and Josh McDaniels' other old team, Denver, showing some interest. After drafting Lance Kendricks in the second round and with plans to make him and last year's fifth-round pick, Michael Hoomanawanui, the focal points of the offense, you have to bet against the team resigning Fells.
Remember, McDaniels has a long history of keeping only three tight ends on the roster...and six receivers.
And what about other free agents?
LB Chris Chamberlain, OT Renardo Foster, OG John Greco, CB Justin King and LB David Vobora were all extended RFA tenders by the team. None of those players has more than three years of experience.
I've had several people ask about WR Danny Amendola. Amendola is an exclusive rights free agent, which means he has two years or less experience and can only sign with his current team provided they extend the minimum offer. The Rams did indeed extend Danny Amendola an ERFA offer, though it's not a stretch to think that Amendola won't be getting another contract soon, potentially a really big contract a la Wes Welker at a similar point in his career. DE C.J. Ah You and LB Larry Grant were also extended ERFA offers.
The Rams declined offers for CB Quincy Butler, RB Kenneth Darby and LB Curtis Johnson.