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2013 NFL free agency: The guard market

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The Rams are expected to be players on the free agent market, but there's another spot that's not being talked about.


Peter King said during the Combine that the St. Louis Rams are expected to be players in free agency, likely moving quickly to sign a left tackle like Jake Long or a wide receiver. Another position that could be an option for the Rams is at guard, an area of need for the team.

The guard market starts with Louis Vasquez, who the San Diego Chargers would be foolish to let slip away. Nevertheless, they just might. Vasquez is said to seeking $6 million per season. He is just 25. Pro Football Focus credited him with allowing just two sacks all season and a total of 22 pressures.

Bills guard Andy Levitre is right up there with Vasquez, and the market for guards gets thin after that. Levtire is likely to slip away from Buffalo this spring. His free agent deal will probably end up looking a lot like his Chargers counterpart.

A sneaky addition could be Donald Thomas, 28, from New England. He turned out to be a very effective starter last season working in relief of Logan Makings and Dan Connolly.

So here's the question the Rams have: Do they commit more money to a starting guard? A deal worth $6 million a season would likely be cheaper than what they would have to pay a free agent tackle like Long, even in a year where a glut of tackles is expected to keep prices in check.

The last headline free agent guard the Rams signed, Harvey Dahl, was their best lineman last season. Unfortunately, he's recovering from an injury and is on the wrong side of the age curve. He's due $4 million this season, the second-to-last year on his contract. Signing free agent guard gives them two starters and some young players behind them, including Rok Watkins who Jeff Fisher spoke highly of at the Combine last week.

The Rams could use both positions. They can almost certainly find a starter at one or the other with their first three, maybe even four, picks in the draft. Finding both is a possibility too, but it would naturally limit the team's ability to find help at other positions on the roster.

Spring success in the NFL rests entirely on assessing priorities and making decisions. Chasing individual players is just one small part of that.