St. Louis Rams Sign WR Steve Smith, Should Give Offense a Boost

Steven GerwelFeatured Columnist IVMarch 26, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 20:  Steve Smith #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after he scored a 14-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on November 20, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Ever since the start of free agency, St. Louis Rams fans have been wondering if the team will enter the season with Brandon Gibson as their top wide receiver. 

The Rams failed to attract a number of free-agent receivers they showed interest in, such as Pierre Garcon, Robert Meachem and Mario Manningham. All three receivers signed with other clubs. 

To make matters worse, their top receiver in 2011, Brandon Lloyd, signed with the New England Patriots. Also, slot receiver Danny Amendola is still not under contract and is supposedly attracting interest as a restricted free agent. 

The Rams finished 2011 ranked 30th in passing with just 179.4 yards per game. They also had fewer touchdown passes than other team with just nine. 

With such pathetic and humorously terrible production, it's frightening that Rams were losing offensive weapons rather than gaining them. 

But now, it looks as though the concern is being addressed. At least partially.

Rams beat writer Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Rams agreed to terms with wide receiver Steve Smith. 

The 26-year-old Smith spent the first four seasons of his career with the New York Giants. He came out of nowhere in 2009 and pieced together a remarkable year with 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns. 

However, Smith failed to duplicate that production in 2010 after injuring his knee midway through the season. 

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 10:  Wide recveiver Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants has the ball just go off his fingertips as cornerback Kareem Jackson #25 of the Houston Texans defends at Reliant Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Le
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Following the 2010 season, Smith became a free agent and was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, but Smith, who was still recovering from his season-ending knee injury, failed to make an impact with the team. 

Smith appeared in just nine games and caught only 11 passes for 124 yards. His knees continued to cause problems for him, so the Eagles eventually placed him on injured reserve. 

With Smith's injury history, he surely did not demand a major contract from the Rams, although the details of the contract are still unknown. 

It wouldn't be wise for the Rams to assume that Smith will be healthy and productive next season. Although, Smith has had time to properly rehab his injury this time around, which is not a luxury he had upon signing with the Eagles. 

Smith's initial knee injury was in December of 2010, which gave him just eight short months to heal. Not to mention, the lockout prevented him from training with the Eagles medical staff. 

But now that he's been allowed to properly rehabilitate, there's a chance he could surprise everyone with his production. 

If Amendola returns to the Rams, then he'll likely remain in the slot, while Smith will work on the outside, which has been his best position.

Amendola and Smith will provide Sam Bradford with a pair of reliable short-yardage receivers capable of producing multiple first-downs. 

However, the Rams are still in need of a sizable receiver capable of stretching the field. 

Also, Amendola and Smith have both dealt with injuries in the past, so the team is still lacking reliability at the position. 

In the end, this was a solid signing for St. Louis, but don't expect it to alter their draft-day strategy in any way.