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The Curious Case Of Jason Smith

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network has a look at some of the offseason's potential cap casualties. One familiar name for TST regulars is St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Jason Smith, who is due some $10 million in 2012. LaCanfora cites a league source who says that Smith will not return to the Rams at his current rate.

That jives with a report from Pro Football Talk in January that said the Rams would cut Smith if he was unwilling to restructure his deal.

Clearly the Rams have to do something with Smith and his contract. After three seasons and three concussions, his play is no better than it was when he first put on a Rams uniform.

In 331 snaps last season, Smith allowed two sacks, two hits and 11 pressures. Pro Football Focus gave him an overall rating of -6.2 and a woeful -3.2 in pass protection along with a -1.5 in run blocking. He was even worse in 2010 with 1,060 snaps and an overall rating of -16.7 along with ratings of -7.6 as a pass blocker and -6.6 in the running game.

There are two different reports as to just how much it would save the Rams if they cut Smith. The January report from PFT said that cutting him would save the Rams $9 million against this year's cap. A report today from Howard Balzer at ESPN 101 says that cutting Smith would leave them on the hook for far more against the cap.

Whatever the cost, the Rams probably need to move on from Smith entirely, avoiding the franchise killing mistake of giving top draft picks more chances than they have earned. Even with an incentive-laden deal, Smith seems unlikely to be more than a league average blocker. His contract, even renegotiated, would still pay him better than another league average blocker and eating up more cap space than necessary.