Free agency for the St. Louis Rams has come to embody a relocation program for former Eagles and Giants. And why not? The Rams got big time returns last season after signing free agent and former Giants DT Fred Robbins, who was part of the defensive line Steve Spagnuolo coached to a Super Bowl title in 2007. A report out today cites sources saying the Rams are considering a few more familiar faces in free agency this year, names that have been bandied about before in free agent speculation this summer.
According to Pro Football Weekly, the Rams are considering DT Barry Cofield, Eagles S Quintin Mikell and Vikings LB Ben Leber. All three of those names have surfaced in connection with the Rams, most notably Cofield, a consideration that we've heard ourselves through a reliable source.
Cofield we've talked about ad nausuem. Reports that the Redskins are also interested in Cofield add a potential wrinkle, and bidding war, to the Rams courtship of the former Giant.
Mikell is another player we've talked about, one that Spagnuolo knows from his time coaching defensive backs in Philly. A strong safety in the listings, he performs well in coverage as well as in an in-the-box role, the perfect Spagnuolo safety.
Leber has also been mentioned before, but as more of a stopgap with a solid if unspectacular record, he doesn't get the headlines. Leber is 32, and probably only a two-down player, but could be an upgrade on the weakside. Rams linebackers coach Paul Ferraro knows Leber from his time in Minnesota.
Connections to free agents is nothing new in the NFL...or lots of other working environments. Getting a known commodity has value, even for what it lacks in boldness. Familiar names in the free agent market will be more important than ever this year, as teams scramble to sign players during a free agent period lasting days instead of months.