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2012 Free Agents: Reviewing The Rams Restricted Free Agents

Will the St. Louis Rams tender an offer to Danny Amendola, a restricted free agent?
Will the St. Louis Rams tender an offer to Danny Amendola, a restricted free agent?

The St. Louis Rams have 21 players from their 2011 roster scheduled for free agency this year. Apart from Brandon Lloyd, there has been little talk about what the future holds for those players.

The PD took a look at Lloyd's situation as well as that of a few other players on Monday. Head coach Jeff Fisher and the Rams' new general manager Les Snead have their work cut out for them. Free agency starts on March 13, and the cabal at Rams Park will be spending the weeks ahead in the film room.

We here at Turf Show Times thought we'd lend a hand. Today, we look at the restricted free agents.

There are two types of restricted free agents: restricted free agents and exclusive rights restricted free agents.

Restricted free agents are players whose contract have expired before reaching the league's threshold for unrestricted free agency, which is four accrued seasons. They can be retained via simple tender at one of three levels:

First right of refusal/original round: $1.26 million

Second round: $1.927 million

First round: $2.742 million

Those levels indicate the compensation a team would receive if one of their RFAs signed a deal elsewhere after being extended an RFA tender. The salaries are what those offers would confer to players, and for some, it represents a considerable increase. The CBA did away with the old first and third round tender.

Exclusive rights free agents are players with two accrued seasons or less. Those players can only sign with their current team if that team extends them an offer, which is minimal in terms of salary dollars.

The Rams have two restricted free agents and six exclusive rights free agents.

Restricted Free Agents

DE C.J. Ah You - Ah You played a total of 256 snaps last season, mostly as a pass rusher. He picked up one sack, one QB hit and 14 pressures. He's a fairly replaceable commodity, and probably does not merit an RFA tender. \

WR Danny Amendola - Sam Bradford lost his security blanket in Week 1, when he suffered a dislocated elbow. A desperation move, the team tried to rush him back into action, only to make the injury worse. His health will be a big question mark in 2012. Amendola is a role player, a sure-handed slot receiver who can work shorter routes in traffic. We joke around with the "poor man's Wes Welker" label, but there is some truth to it. Unlike Welker, Amendola lacks the speed and quickness to produce yards after the catch.

Waiting in the wings is Greg Salas, who took over for Amendola before hitting IR himself. After shaking off the jitters, Salas flashed some real potential in the slot role, looking more capable than Amendola of turning those short routes into bigger gains.

For now, the Rams should keep Amendola, in part because they need receivers who can actually catch the ball. Beyond this season, he may not be necessary.

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

QB Tom Brandstater - Sam Bradford is the only quarterback under contract for 2012. Brandstater has probably reached his ceiling as an NFL prospect, and the new coaching staff will want to find a third quarterback suited to their offensive system

WR Dominique Curry - Special teams play earned Curry a roster spot, but he saw just 11 snaps on offense. You have to believe that he will at least get the minimal ERFA offer, but is far from a lock to make the final cut.

DT Jermelle Cudjo - Signed as an undrafted rookie in 2010, Cudjo had moments of potential as a penetrating tackle in his rookie year. He struggled against the run. An injury in training camp put him on the shelf for the year.

OL Bryan Mattison - You may have forgotten this, but Mattison actually started four games for the Rams. They weren't very memorable games. He was not very good as either a run or pass blocker.

FB Brit Miller - It seemed like Miller was around far more than he actually was. According to Pro Football Focus, he played 126 offensive snaps. Miller was average as a pass blocker, but not very good as a run blocker, which is kind of a problem for a fullback.

S Darian Stewart - Only three players saw more snaps on defense than Stewart, who proved to be a pleasant surprise among the Rams' recent crop of undrafted rookies. Stewart was a liability in run defense, but gave the Rams an upgrade over Craig Dahl in coverage. He can also blitz, which will probably earn him some looks from Gregg Williams. Out of all the exclusive rights free agents, Stewart is the one most worth keeping.

Hat tip to Mac's Football Blog for a rich resource of free agent information.