It's clear that the St. Louis Rams may have to settle on a compromise solution, a temporary fix to their need at weakside linebacker. Names of several free agents have popped up here and there as possible plug-and-play types. Some news today from other parts of the NFC West makes me think there's another name worth adding to the list of potential help at that spot: Takeo Spikes.
Spikes told CSN Bay Area today that he would not attend the 49ers informal player practices if they hold them for defensive players. Spikes said via text message:
I'm not under contract so no I'm not coming & since I'm not under contract, I never was given a playbook. Don't know how much to read into it or not @ all.
Doesn't sound like the man plans to return to San Francisco, and with other free agent concerns at the position, Manny Lawson, and a replacement on board, Navorro Bowman, the 34-year-old unrestricted free agent might not be a high priority.
Spikes has been a big asset since signing a free agent deal with the 49ers in 2008. I was lobbying for the Rams to pick him at the time, when they needed a middle linebacker. He can still tackle, work in coverage and has an eye for the ball. Speed would be the biggest question, but he had more than enough with the 49ers last season.
At 34, Spikes obviously isn't a long-term solution. Fine. It buys the Rams another year to develop a guy like Jabarra Williams or find another answer. Remember, Spagnuolo's system doesn't put a big premium on outside linebackers. For all the talk about adding oldster wide receivers, there's much more value to be had in adding a thirtysomething player like Spikes.