Early in the 2014 NFL season, it was clear to me that Kenny Britt did wonders for Brian Quick. Britt provided some veteran mentorship that had been lacking from the Rams WRs in recent years. Why am I kicking off an article about DBs by mentioning WRs? because last year our DBs lacked that veteran influence. Sure they had Courtland Finnegan years prior, but last year the secondary regressed some without that vet presence.
The Rams arguably have 3 starting caliber CBs with Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, and E.J. Gaines. After that, you have Marcus Roberson listed as the only backup according to the Rams official Depth Chart. Lamarcus Joyner and Maurice Alexander could be grouped here as well, but they are 'officially' listed at safety. Take that as you will.
Much like the CBs, the Rams have 3 players that they are comfortable starting at Safety: T.J. McDonald, Rodney McLeod, and Mark Barron. As mentioned above, Joyner and Alexander are listed as backups, with Cody Davis joining them as well.
The Barron situation will be interesting to watch next season. When he was asked to fill in as the defacto 3rd LB in 'Big Nickel' sets down the stretch last season, the Rams enjoyed some success. Did they give up a 4th and a 6th for him to play 20 snaps a game? Doubtful. I'm interested to see how DC Gregg Williams further incorporates Barron into Defensive Sets
Due to the amount of flexibility of our current DBs, I'm going to lump potential fits into one category. Given the Rams financial constraints and priorities in other areas - *cough* OL *cough* - none of the Free Agent safeties do much for me. The Rams were interested in Louis Delmas two seasons ago, but he's coming off an ACL injury (not like that scares our Front Office), and would be brought in strictly for that 'veteran presence.' Not an ideal situation.
The CB market on the other hand is fairly robust, but will also be more expensive. If the Byron Maxwell and Devin McCourty contracts are any indication, quality DB help won't be easy add without busting our cap situation. Antonio Cromartie, Cary Williams, and Chris Culliver would be good additions to our young group, but they will all be waaaaaaaaaaay too expensive.
Once you get past the more expensive options, there are a lot of options available. Players like Javier Arenas, seasoned vet Carlos Rogers, and former Ram Bradley Fletcher seem to be the best options, but there are many more out there as well.
Personally, I like the idea of bringing in Tramon Williams if the price is right. Yes, he will be 32 this month, but he has aged well. Due to his vast starting experience, he would be an invaluable insurance policy in the event that someone goes goes down for an extended period of time. I think he would be an excellent mentor for our young fellas.
While adding a depth piece/mentor to our young group would be optimal, it would be somewhat of a nicety. Fixing the OL is still the priority. That being said, the team could find $2-3M to give a veteran DB, I think it could reap HUGE rewards for our current DBs development.