The St. Louis Rams walked away from the first day of NFL free agency with an answer, one answer and several questions left. As the day and week continue, expect there to be plenty more action in free agency. Of course, signing players isn't the only thing teams are doing this week. Training camps and practices start; the Rams start training camp on Friday. Let's review the day that was and take a look at what's ahead.
Rams sign S Quintin Mikell
The biggest move by the Rams in free agency this year, and might be the biggest one they end up making. Mikell fits the prototype of what Spagnuolo wants in a safety: interchangeable players that excel in both coverage and run stopping, guys that read plays well and possess a keen sense for the game unfolding in front of them. He'll be paired with Craig Dahl, and should improve Dahl's by giving the secondary a captain/quarterback type of their own.
Pro Football Focus ranks Mikell as their top safety over the last three years.
It should be noted that Mikell played a significantly higher number of snaps than the two guys below him, which is what ultimately what made him my number one safety. With that being said, Mikell is constantly one of the most underrated players in the league. People who haven't watched him just don't realize how good of a player he is because he doesn't usually end up on many highlight reels. Not only did Mikell finish atop our safety rankings in 2008 and 2010, but he makes plays in coverage and regularly comes up to help defend against the run. What more could you ask for from a safety?
More moves and next moves for the Rams after the jump.
LB Larry Grant let go
The Rams informed linebacker Larry Grant that they rescinded their RFA offer. Besides unofficially parting ways with DT Clifton Ryan, that was the Rams only official announcement of a player they were parting ways with...so far.
Undrafted free agents
According to Billy Devaney, the Rams signed 24 UDFAs, or agreed to terms with them anyway. Among the more intriguing names, a tight end from Northern Iowa, Schuylar Oordt, who has the kind of raw athleticism that could give him a bright future in the NFL. The strangest UDFA saga were early reports Monday that RB Derrick Locke and the Rams had agreed to terms. Locke signed with the Vikings; however, someone must have been using the Rams for leverage or just got their facts wrong. The Rams checked out Locke during the draft season, and failed him on his medical tests. I suspect lots of other teams did too, hence his undrafted status.
Next free agent moves
Washington undercut one of the Rams likely free agent moves late last night, agreeing to terms with former Giants DT Barry Cofield, who was widely expected to join the Rams. The Rams still need to find a defensive tackle. Relying on pups like Jermelle Cudjo and the disappointing Darrell Scott won't cut it for another year. Brandon Mebane is the Cadillac of available 4-3 DTs, but might be out of the Rams price range, given their other needs. Brick Top has a look at the other possibilities.
Reggie Bush's name keeps popping up in connection with the Rams, but there isn't solid evidence to support it. New Orleans would first have to cut him. Darren Sproles still seems like the most likely. Steve Slaton and Jerome Harrison are also possibilities.
Another Saint came up in the discussion yesterday, Scott Shanle, a weakside linebacker who started 14 games for the Saints last year. Another player that will be getting a call when/if Carolina releases him is Thomas Davis, who knows Rams DC Ken Flajole from his time as linebackers coach there. Ben Leber is another name that has been mentioned. Don't look for the Rams to spend big money on a linebacker; the Mikell deal should be hint enough for you.
I wouldn't look for the Rams to make any moves at offensive guard, other than maybe trying to find some depth that can work all of the interior line positions.
Medical reports looking good so far
Head coach Steve Spagnuolo reported that, so far, he had no major medical issues among his players. That's a good sign for team hamstrung by injuries in the recent past. I'm assuming that includes last year's big injuries like Donnie Avery.
Camp starts Friday for the Rams. They have yet to settle on a schedule, as the coaches work through the new practice rules set forth in the forthcoming CBA. Look for a schedule today or tomorrow.
Keep it tuned to TST today, we'll have you covered.