Snowball Effect: A term used to describe the ever-increasing turnover rate on the St. Louis Rams' roster as the 2014 regular season unfolds. At this rate of turnover, the roster may be unrecognizable by the end of the season.
The latest round of roster moves began on Saturday, the day before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Rams placed CB Brandon McGee on season-ending Injured Reserve. CB Jemea Thomas was promoted from the practice squad to fill McGee's spot on the 53-man roster.
Rams place Brandon McGee (foot) on IR, promote Jemea Thomas from practice squad.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 25, 2014
Fast-forward to Sunday's game against the Chiefs. Something happened that I've never seen before. Six Rams players leaving the game due to injury. They were going down like pins at a bowling alley. It's something Jeff Fisher - in all his years as a coach in the NFL - has never been witness to:
"No, it’s not happened to me before. It was highly unusual, just losing the number of players that we did in the game."
Seeing Brian Quick and Jake Long leave the field on Sunday brought out our worst fears, fears confirmed on Monday:
Rams coach Jeff Fisher confirms season ending injuries to LT Jake Long (knee) and WR Brian Quick (shoulder). Both will undergo surgery.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) October 27, 2014
To add insult to injury, Tuesday began with another loss:
W/their numbers already reduced by injury, Rams lose practice squad OL Mike Remmers, who is signed to Carolina active roster.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 28, 2014
The rest of Tuesday was spent making a flurry of roster moves. The Rams waived QB Case Keenum, placed LT Jake Long on IR, promoted recently signed LB Korey Toomer from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, and cut QB - and 2014 6'th round draft pick - Garrett Gilbert from the practice squad.
Other Rams moves: Waived QB Case Keenum, placed OT Jake Long on I.R., promoted LB Korey Toomer from practice squad, cut QB Garrett Gilbert.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) October 28, 2014
Just before the 4.00 pm trade deadline on Tuesday, the Rams announced a trade, acquiring Safety Mark Barron from Tampa Bay, for 4'th and 6'th round selections in the 2015 NFL Draft:
Former Bucs S Mark Barron is now a St. Louis Ram.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2014
Rams traded fourth- and sixth- round picks to Buccaneers for S Mark Barron, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2014
The Rams' picks (4, 6) going to Tampa are both 2015 picks.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 28, 2014
Barron will count $902,719 against the Rams' salary cap this year. 2015 is the final year of his rookie contract. Barron will count $2,362,704 against the Rams' 2015 salary cap. All of the monies are guaranteed. Tampa Bay is on the hook for any prorated bonus amounts included in Barron's contract. The Rams will also hold a 2016 option on Barron's contract.
I believe this was a good move by the Rams. The remainder of Barron's contract is team-friendly, insomuch as the Rams are not on the hook for any prorated bonus amounts. Barron is a young, yet experienced player, with untapped upside. Rodney McLeod becomes a free agent after this season, and will undoubtedly be seeking a raise over and above his $570,000 2014 base salary.
Later in the day, the Rams filled one of their three practice squad openings with the signing of OT Steven Baker. Baker was originally signed as a UDFA by the Colts in 2012, and was last with the Dolphins during the summer, released on the cut down to 75 players.
One PS spot filed by T Steven Baker, undrafted free agent with Indy in 2012, was in camp with Dolphins this year. Cut in reduction to 75.— Howard Balzer (@HBalzer721) October 28, 2014
St. Louis Rams Current Roster And Depth Chart
C Scott Wells Tim Barnes Barrett Jones RG Davin Joseph Brandon Washington LG Rodger Saffold RT Joe Barksdale LT Greg Robinson Mike Person TE Lance Kendricks Cory Harkey TE Jared Cook Alex Bayer WR Kenny Britt Chris Givens WR Tavon Austin Stedman Bailey Damian Williams RB Benny Cunningham Chase Reynolds Trey Watts RB Zac Stacy Tre Mason QB Austin Davis Shaun Hill PK Greg Zuerlein P John Hekker LS Jake McQuaide DT Aaron Donald Kendall Langford DT Michael Brockers Alex Carrington DE William Hayes Eugene Sims DE Robert Quinn Ethan Westbrooks MLB James Laurinaitis Marshall McFadden OLB Alec Ogletree Daren Bates OLB Jo-Lonn Dunbar Will Herring Korey Toomer CB Janoris Jenkins Marcus Roberson CB Trumaine Johnson E.J. Gaines Lamarcus Joyner SS Mark Barron Cody Davis Maurice Alexander FS T.J. McDonald Rodney McLeod Practice Squad IR - Des. For Return Injured Reserve OT Steven Baker DE Chris Long QB Sam Bradford OG Travis Bond RB Isaiah Pead TE Brad Smelley TE Mason Brodine CB Jemea Thomas OC Demetrius Rhaney TE Justice Cunningham LT Jake Long WR Emory Blake WR Brian Quick WR Devon Wylie CB Brandon McGee DT Matt Conrath FS Christian Bryant QB Case Keenum
The roster is updated to reflect all transactions as of 6:00 pm, Wednesday, October 29. Although Brian Quick has not been placed on IR as of this writing, he will definitely be placed there once the Rams decide on which player is signed to the the 53-man roster in his stead. I've taken the liberty of prematurely placing him on IR. Currently, the Rams only have 8 players on the practice squad. They will likely take measures in the next 48 hours to fill the two remaining spots.
Once Brian Quick is placed on IR, the Rams will have $43.6 million in 2014 salary cap hits sitting on IR. This total represents 35% of the Rams' entire Adjusted Team Salary Cap.
Barring further injuries, or other unexpected moves, the next roster decision the Rams will have to make involves the return of DE Chris Long from the Injured - Designated For Return list. The "designated for return" IR player is eligible to practice after being on Reserve/Injured for at least six weeks from the date he is placed on IR. The player can only return to the active roster at least eight weeks from the date he is placed on Injured Reserve - DFR. The earliest date Long can return to the active roster is November 5. The soonest he could play in a game is the November 9 contest at the Arizona Cardinals.
The Rams can ill afford further injuries requiring placement on IR. Salaries of players on IR count against the salary cap, as do the salaries of the players replacing them on the 53-man roster. With 8 players already on IR, the Rams' available salary cap space sits in a precarious position, and was further squeezed by the trade for Mark Barron. It's likely the Rams will have to restructure a contract or two, in order to remain salary cap compliant.
There's always hope, in any given year, even when the remainder of the season looks bleak:
"Since 2000, 34 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season."
"Of those 34 clubs, five have advanced to the Conference Championship Game, including the 2001 New England Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXVI."
Wednesday Update: 2.00 pm
The Rams, as noted, needed to make a number of roster moves to fill out the 53-man roster, deal with WR Brian Quick, and bring the practice squad up to 10 players. They accomplished all of that on Wednesday.
The Rams promoted G Brandon Washington from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
WR Brian Quick was placed on season-ending IR.
The Rams signed WR Emory Blake, TE Justice Cunningham, and G Travis Bond to the practice squad. All three were with the Rams organization at various points in 2014.
G Brandon Washington promoted to Rams 53— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
He replaces Brian Quick, who goes on IR.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
Practice squad filled out with signing of WR Emory Blake, TE Justice Cunningham, OG Travis Bond.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
As Jim Thomas noted, the Rams are suddenly very thin at wide receiver (let alone the offensive line):
So 53-man roster is now set and includes just 4 wide receivers.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
Wednesday Update 4.00 pm
The roster moves just keep on coming:
Still more moves for the Rams. WR Damian Williams, who played for Tennessee from 2010-13, added to the active roster.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
CB Jemea Thomas, who was promoted to the active roster on Saturday, was cut.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
WR Kadron Boone released from practice squad.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
As expected, Case Keenum clears waivers, added to Rams practice squad.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
Jim Thomas sure has this correct:
Rams Park resembling bus station with so many players coming and going in past two days.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 29, 2014
CB Jemea Thomas is added to the practice squad and was on field Thurs. _ the last of a whopping 18 roster moves team made over last 48 hours— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 30, 2014