Barrett Jones will bring a championship mentality from the Alabama Crimson Tide to the St. Louis Rams. The versatile and decorated lineman is a perfect fit for St. Louis’ rotation, regardless of whether or not he starts as a rookie.
Since an extremely busy first night on the telephones in the 2013 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams haven’t made a trade. Following a quarterback run in the fourth round, Jones’ name was the one they called at No. 113 overall.
The Rams offensive linemen have been getting praised more on paper in recent years, but they’ve consistently gotten injured and failed to realize their potential as a unit.
Jones started 25 games at right guard, 12 at left tackle and 13 at center. Alabama won a national championship with him manning each of the three positions. He was at guard in 2009, tackle in 2011 and center—also winning the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the nation’s best at the position—in 2012.
With Jake Long and Rodger Saffold in the building, St. Louis will likely keep Jones on the interior if health permits. They can groom him to spell Scott Wells and Harvey Dahl early on and succeed one of them later.
Both guys will be 32 by Week 1.
Financially speaking, he can be cut easily.
That doesn’t mean it’ll happen—he still brings nastiness from which the Rams can benefit up front—but if Jones progresses quickly as a rookie, St. Louis won’t have to pick up Dahl’s $500,000 roster bonus and $4 million cap hit.
The Rams will need to take cap space where they can get it; Sam Bradford’s cap hit will escalate from $12.6 million to $17.6 million in 2014 if nothing changes with his contract. Chris Long ($5.95 million increase from 2013 to 2014) and Jake Long ($5 million) will create a similar level of inflexibility.
Rodger Saffold’s rookie contract is set to expire after this season. So is Chris Williams’.
The fourth-round pick from Alabama has a very good chance of being a starter in the NFL—and soon.