The St. Louis Rams search for a backup running back has been a quest like none other, like the search for the Holy Grail...the one that never leaves the research library thanks to the NFL lockout. Names mentioned as possible free agent options include Darren Sproles and Cadillac Williams. Add Texans RB Steve Slaton to that list.
According to Len Pasquarelli at CBSSports.com, unsubstantiated rumors linking Slaton to the Rams have surfaced. Slaton is a solid receiving option who has also proven himself as a runner in the past. However, he might not be a fit for a 300 carries per season role, which would be perfect for the Rams' needs.
After a stunning rookie debut season, the third-round draft pick ended up on IR in 2009. Last year, Arian Foster beat him out for the starting job, and you probably won your fantasy league if you grabbed Foster off the waiver wire or with a late round pick. As for Slaton, the gang over at Battle Red Blog, SBN's Texans site, speculated that his neck injury was in part due to bulking up after his rookie season, which took away some of his explosiveness. He also struggled with fumbles - with seven in 2009 and a more to start the preseason last year - losing his role in 2009 before landing on IR.
He didn't see many carries last year, but when he did the results were positive. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 19 touches. The good news about fumbles is that it's a problem that can be corrected. The Rams have a very good running backs coach in Sylvester Croom too.
Slaton is under contract for 2010, however. It's the last year of his rookie deal, which pays him the league minimum. His placement on the trade block has been the worst kept secret since the Pentagon Papers confirmed something everyone already knew. What the Texans would ask for in return surely couldn't be bank-breaking, not with his recent history. They could also choose to hold off on a trade until giving him some carries in the preseason, trying to up his value.