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Jim Thomas: Rams RT Joe Barksdale Will Hit Free Agency

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The Rams turned a castoff released by the Raiders after one season into a legit right tackle. Now, he's set to head into free agency and find a new employer.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welp:

With the tampering period opening tomorrow, the Rams were up against the clock. I've seen some rankings that had Joe Barksdale as high as the #2 offensive tackle hitting the market. So it is a bit surprising that with Jake Long and Scott Wells still under contract that Barksdale is walking.

On the other hand, Barksdale could be able to cash in on a weak market in a year where some tackle-needy teams are flush with cash.

Barksdale was drafted out of LSU in the third round in 2011 by the Raiders but released after just one year. The Rams picked him up the day after Oakland dropped him and plugged him in as injuries chipped away at the offensive line before finding a permanent starting gig at right tackle in 2013.

In doing so, that squeezed Rodger Saffold inside to guard. Saffold, consequently signed with the Raiders a year ago in free agency before that deal was annulled and he returned to the Rams on a five-year $30m+ deal in March.

So what looked like a chance for Barksdale to stick around and Saffold to leave nearly a year ago today now seems headed to the opposite. Time will tell if Jeff Fisher and Les Snead put their chips in the right corner.