Earlier today, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Alex Barron intends to sign his tender from the Rams. Barron is a restricted free agent, and restricted free agents cannot be traded unless they are put under contract, or have signed their tenders.
Barron is described as "enigmatic" by Thomas. This 27-year-old offensive tackle from Florida State was picked No. 19 in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He stands 6'7", weights 305 pounds, ran a 4.87 at the combine, and has a 37.75 inch arm length. He is lean and athletic. Certainly he has all the physical tools.
He has been durable. He is the only Ram lineman, and probably the only Ram, to start all 48 games in the past three seasons. He has missed only two games in his pro career, playing in 58 of 60 since getting his first start.
On the other hand, Barron has been one of the most penalized players in the NFL during his five year career span. He frequently misses the snap count, leaving early or going late. He also holds plenty. He has often missed blocking-adjustments called at the line of scrimmage, and some of those missed blocks have resulted in carnage.
Oddly, he has struggled against lesser defensive ends such as Justin Smith of the 49ers, but done surprisingly well against elite pass rushers such as Jared Allen of the Vikings.
With all this in mind, Barron has been tendered at $2.62 million per year; a first round level. The Rams let it be known they would accept a second rounder in compensation for Alex. When that didn't work, they lowered their offer to a third. April 15—the deadline for RFA offers—came and went with no offers for Barron.
This should not surprise. In an environment where Donovan McNabb cannot fetch a first, Albert Haynesworth cannot fetch a third, and Santonio Holmes fetches only a fifth, asking a third rounder for Barron is a pretty steep price. The market just isn't there.
Barron has not participated in voluntary conditioning workouts, missing all meetings between March 15 and April 28. According to his agent Roosevelt Barnes, Baron has been running his own "personal boot camp."
After signing his tender, Barron intends to participate in all future OTAs, as well as mandatory mincamp. "Alex is planning on having the best year of his career," said his agent.
Barron's decision to sign his tender comes after the Rams selected Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold at pick No. 33 in this years draft. It also comes at the end of scuttlebutt that the Rams intend to play Jason Smith at left tackle in 2010.
Barron's agent disavows any association between these events. Barnes stated that the Rams were only trying to select the best player available, and that Barron will prove he is one of the best OTs in the NFC.
Barron has performed better at left tackle than at right, and is said to prefer the left. He has stated that he will play the right, if that is the only option in St. Louis.