The Rams filled all of their peripheral holes in the first wave of free agents, and now it's time to focus on the most glaring need - Offensive Lineman. Garrett Reynolds is likely a depth signing, meaning that the Rams still have 3 holes to fill along the OL. With the top free agents scooped up, it's bargain hunting time in Free Agency.
When doing my daily Google search for Joe Barksdale news, I came across a list of the Top 10 free agents still available. Unfortunately, don't expect to hear too much regarding the OL most frequently linked to the Rams.
For those waiting for Rams offensive line moves, am told it's expected to be quiet this week on Barkdale, Wisniewski, Blalock, etc.
— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 23, 2015
With that disclaimer out of the way, those three names all appeared on the list of best available free agents.
8) Justin Blalock OG- Blalock has been a solid, if unspectacular starter during his NFL career which has spanned 8 years, all of which were played in Atlanta with the Falcons. After a dismal season last year Blalock was one of the cap casualties of the new regime being brought in to try and turn Atlanta around. Blalock won’t win you any back pages or front pages with his signing, but solid offensive linemen who can provide depth or start while you develop a younger player always have a place in the league and at this late date in free agency the price would be right.
G Justin Blalock does plan to visit Rams, but Detroit also in mix
— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 11, 2015
He's been connected to the Rams, so it's not just blind optimism here. But on the other hand he still hasn't visited Rams Park either. He would seemingly be a good fit if the Rams planned to add an OL later in the draft - hopefully in addition to one early in the draft.
6) Joe Barksdale OT- One of two tackles let go by the Rams this offseason as they look to young Gregg Robinson and possibly another tackle in this year’s draft to be their line of the future in front of Nick Foles. Barksdale is only 27 having played four years in the league, and can immediately be a starting right tackle for any team.
His wedding - and subsequent unavailability - may have inadvertently lowered his price tag, which is good news if the Rams plan to re-sign him.
"Can immediately be a starting right tackle for any team." 'Nuff said. Get this man back in the blue and gold!
3) Stefen Wisniewski C- This one is puzzling to me. Either the contract demands from his agent have been too high or teams know something that we don’t. He’s 25 and the second best center on the market behind Rodney Hudson who has been off the market for awhile. Teams in need of interior line help would absolutely benefit from bringing Wisniewski on board.
Stefen Wisniewski update: He's still in Seattle, but told visit to St. Louis is "very possible."
— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 13, 2015
Another OL that has been linked to St. Louis, but also another OL that has yet to visit. It's not often that a 25 year old as talented as him hits the market. As such, 'Wiz' would command the most cap space out of the 3, likely well south of Rodney Hudson's nearly $9M AAV.
How to Create Funds?
According to Dubs, the Rams currently only have around $2M in cap space. But they can create an additional $8M by renegotiating Robert Quinn's roster bonus into a pro-rated signing bonus. That move would give the Rams $10M in space which would give them enough to potentially sign 2 of the 3 lineman.
Also, players like Isaiah Pead, Chris Givens, and Jo-Lonn Dunbar could be released to create even more space (approx $2.5M in my estimation, but I defer exact #s to Dubs). That is an unlikely all-in scenario in my opinion.