They had needed help for Bradford on the outside before that unfortunate circumstance, but the necessity is even more pronounced now.
Les Snead, GM of the Rams, might want to make a phone call down to Dallas and see about acquiring a maligned, yet ultra-talented receiver: Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys.
Because the cost to acquire Bryant was heavy for the Cowboys, the asking price of any trade suitor may be the same.
Dallas has recently shown a propensity to take major risks on talented wide receivers with high hopes for them, only to see them not work out so well for the team in the long run.
Terrell Owens was productive statistically for Dallas but ultimately couldn’t bring home a Super Bowl and therefore was looked upon as a failed experiment. He was compensated handsomely for his services.
There’s Roy Williams, who the team acquired in 2008 for first, third, sixth and seventh-round draft picks. He caught 94 balls in 40 games with the Cowboys, converting them for 1,324 yards and 13 touchdowns.
After agreeing to a deal worth $20 million guaranteed, those turned out to be some mighty expensive receptions.
And then there’s Dez Bryant. Bryant is only in his third year of experience in the NFL and should have plenty of time to turn around his currently disappointing career.
Dallas anted up a first-round draft pick (even trading up in the NFL draft) to select him in 2010 despite his character-issues-induced free-fall.
Of course, we all know the rest: in his third year, he just notched his second career 100-yard game in front of millions of eyes on Monday Night Football. While that should be exciting for most young players, Bryant has too much talent to be content with that.
In addition, the triple-digit yardage is little distraction from the fact that he had a pretty bad game on prime-time television.
He’s gained a lot of negative attention recently, most notably from former occupants of his jersey number saying he hasn’t acted as if he deserves to follow their legacy.
Perhaps a change of scenery would do him some good.
Given St. Louis’ current depth chart at wide receiver, the Rams may be looking to add talent at the position in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
They may not have to do so if they trade for Bryant, by using draft picks to pursue him rather than acquiring a current collegiate star.
Brian Quick is assuredly looked upon as a first-round talent by St. Louis. He was selected 33rd overall (first pick of the second round) ahead of guys like Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill (now of the New York Jets) and North Alabama’s cornerback Janoris Jenkins (Jenkins was selected six picks later by the Rams) in 2012.
Hill caught two touchdowns in his NFL debut, but has been dealing with injuries since. The reason Jenkins has been in the news is that he has certainly been playing like a first-round talent early on, rather than dealing with off-the-field issues that caused his draft stock to drop in the first place.
Chris Givens gives the Rams a vertical dimension that it had been lacking in recent years, evidenced by his first career touchdown: a 51-yard rainbow caught in stride on the left sideline.
Brandon Gibson has done some downfield work for St. Louis, but the trouble is that the receiving corps hasn’t yet proven able to consistently get open on the outside.
Bryant has been able to do that, despite the other flaws in his game.
St. Louis should have the requisite draft pick ammunition and salary cap space (or potential to create it) to acquire Bryant and absorb his contract this season. It has two first-round picks in each of the next two drafts in addition to its normal array of selections after the first round.
Bringing Bryant in to play under a veteran head coach in Jeff Fisher should help him regain focus and earn a lucrative second contract.
The Rams may also need a player like Bryant in the near future: Gibson, Amendola and Steve Smith are all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents following the season.
If each of those players were to walk, St. Louis would be left with Givens, Quick and Austin Pettis at the wide receiver position.
While each of them has shown some promise in their respective early careers, there’s a reason Bryant was expected to be a high first-round draft pick when he came out of Oklahoma State.
The Rams shouldn’t have to invest that in order to get him now.