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Rams Roster Update: Barron, Injuries & The Snowball Effect

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Since last Saturday, the Rams have made 10 roster moves. Due to injuries - and the trade for Mark Barron - the Rams will need to make an additional 4 roster moves in the next couple of days. Stay tuned! The hits just keep on coming!

Evan Habeeb

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.

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:

To add insult to injury, Tuesday began with another loss:

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.

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:

Both Jim Thomas - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and ESPN's Nick Wagoner shared their thoughts on Tuesday regarding Barron's acquisition from the Bucanneers.

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.

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."

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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.

As Jim Thomas noted, the Rams are suddenly very thin at wide receiver (let alone the offensive line):

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Wednesday Update 4.00 pm

The roster moves just keep on coming:

Jim Thomas sure has this correct:

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Thursday Update