Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a 18-wheeler barreling down the interstate at 200 mph? No casual NFL fan, it is the start of free agency. The full-on craziness is upon us. The reports are all over the wire, and it can be hard to keep everything straight.
So far, so good. The Rams resigned a known quantity in Hayes - who significantly contributed in multiple ways last year. The St. Louis style of play probably better fits him than any, and it was mutually beneficial to keep him wearing the horns. The defensive line rotation appears just about set. With Cudjo and Hayes back, it is likely that Matt Conrath, a possible draft pick, and some UDFA's will battle out a final spot or two for D-line depth during camp.
I can't say that I know this was the right move, none of us can. Jared Cook is immensely talented, and has only flashed his ability to be an elite NFL tight end here and there. With that being said, I can't imagine Jeff Fisher and Les Snead would sign a big 5 year contract with player they didn't believe was an ascending young talent that they could bring along. Belief and reality can be two different things. Rams fans will hope that Tennessee was the only thing holding Cook back. Consistency will be the key to Cooks success in St. Louis.
Most credible sources agree that the Rams interest in Jake Long is extremely high. Some are going as far as to say that it is a done deal pending a physical (I'm sure there is more to it than that). So why are Rams fans split on the addition of one of the best NFL tackles over the past 5 years? The concern appears to lie in a perceived decline in his abilities and the sudden emergence of injuries. If fully-healthy, there is no reason to believe that Long could not continue to be one of the top 3 tackles in the league. My guess is the Rams want a full health profile on a guy that may be showing signs of being more damaged than most realize. The Dolphins could use a good tackle and they let him walk, that screams buyer-beware. However; if Jake Long can be healthy and play LT for the Rams, St. Louis will have significantly improved their line and opened up even greater draft options.
It's all but done. Steven Jackson will not wear blue and gold next season. It is hard for fans to see. Although many fans saw this coming - or even knew it may be best for both parties - it will be hard to watch Steven in another teams uniform. The current scuttlebutt is that Atlanta and Green Bay appear to be the most likely destinations.
If the Rams secure Jared Cook, a healthy Jake Long, and a healthy Louis Delmas, fans should be elated. St. Louis will have likely gotten the most out of their cap space, and upgraded 3 spots on the roster. These players would provide weapons on offense, and upgrade the defense. It's only 33% true right now, but fans have to like the opportunity that these upgrades could bring the team.
In other FA news....
Bradley Fletcher will be an Eagle next season. This is a good fit for Fletcher - who was widely undervalued this offseason. Fletcher can start in Philidelphia, and be a big contributor for their defense.
The Colts are using a random generator to sign random free agent players. The results are about what you might expect. See Greg Toler and Gosder Cherilus.
Danny Amendola seems to have a lot of interest, but none from Rams. This is a little disappointing, but it sounds like this was decided a while back.
Jacksonville remains a sad place to be a football fan.
Stay classy Rams fans.