Oh boy. Did the Rams make shockwaves yesterday, or what? A team that many thought to be slow and sneaky when concerned with free agency pretty much had a field day yesterday with signing players and rookies. They also gave us quite a shock when they released G Jacob Bell.
If you hit the jump, we'll do a little breakdown of all the free agents that the Rams so far have courted to turfier pastures.
The deal most of us were probably expecting. Did the Rams pay a premium for this guy (4 years, 28 million for anyone out there who hasn't been paying attention)? Probably. But that happens with most free agents, so you can't really fault them for that. They snagged the best safety in the market and one of the best safeties in the game, period. Where Atogwe was really a duck out of water in terms of how Spagnuolo wants his safeties to play, Mikell is just the opposite. He may not be a ballhawk or cause fumbles, but he'll be a leader in the secondary and a solid player.
I also love this signing. Dahl is a nasty guard who reminds me a lot of Richie Incognito, except he isn't an idiot. Jason Smith (who I am hoping improves leaps and bounds this year) and him should be able to do solidify the right side, giving Steven Jackson and...someone...plenty of room to run. This is another good pickup for the Rams.
I think this is a slightly trickier call. On one hand, the Rams desperately needed help on the outside. But on the other, if Houston Texan fans don't think he's incredible, why should we? I think he'll be an improvement over what we have, and given how the defensive system devalues outside linebackers in favor of a physical secondary and a quick pass rush, I think this will work out for the better. If not, he's gone next year. It'll be a good motivator for him to play his best.
Huh? I understand that we could use some depth at corner, but really? Harris used to be a great cornerback, perfect for the Rams defensive system. But at 37, you really have to wonder if he still has got juice left in the batteries for another season. Kudos to Devaney for making deals like these though; if it doesn't work, there isn't really a big loss, and if does, well, he'll be hailed as a genius.
As far as adding players go, this was the most shocking. Just when we thought Mark Clayton would be the only receiver the Rams signed, news came in that we brought in the services of MSW, as he's now known around these parts. He is a big red zone threat, which is something the Rams have lacked for just about forever, so you can't fault Devaney for giving the guy a shot. But damn if it isn't going to be an all out war on who stays and who goes with the receivers.
Signing almost all the rookies:
Man, it sure is nice to have a rookie wage scale. I think we can kiss these holdouts goodbye! It sure would have been nice to go 6-42 with one of those in place!
Letting Jacob Bell go:
This move by far was a stunner for me. Is Jacob Bell worth 6 million at the level he's been playing at? No. Do I think the Rams have someone on the team who can replace his level of play at LG? No. You can't fault Demoff and Devaney for trying to squeeze every last penny from the cap, but it sure brings about a good question of what the Rams are planning on doing with the LG spot. Brian Waters? John Greco? Renardo Foster? Who knows.
UPDATE: So it looks like they haven't canned him yet. It's "most likely" they do. It was almost most likely that the Rams would pick up Randy Moss from waivers last year, and two years ago the Rams were "most likely" the lead for Michael Vick. I'll believe it when I see it!
Overall, I think yesterday was huge. The Rams filled some gaps they had in the roster, and overall got us fans riled up and excited for the possibilities of this upcoming year. Regardless of who else they sign, it may be that Josh McDaniels will outshine all the other acquisitions. If this team had an offense last year...
...man, it's going to be crazy come September.