When the free agency period finally begins, the Rams have made it clear that they will be in the running for one or two of the better free agents in this class.
RB Steven Jackson stated at the end of last season that he'd do his best to recruit players to St. Louis and, given their success in 2010, he should find plenty of athletes willing to be a part of the resurrection of the Rams.
So of the top-50 free agents available, who are most likely to find themselves in horns in 2011?
NOTE: The list goes from top-rated players to lower-rated.
- 0% - Not even the craziest of events would land the player on the Rams in 2011.
- 1-9% - They'll give the player a look, but nothing remotely serious will ensue.
- 10-19% - They'll give the player a serious look, but a signing isn't likely
- 20%-29% - They'll give the player a very serious look, and a signing is possible
- 30%-49% - The Rams will end up on the player's short list and there is a good chance of a signing
- 50%-100% - Might as well buy a jersey. (There is only one player that makes this percentile)
Yeah that is a negative zero. Even if Sam Bradford didn't exist, I'd bet all the money I'll ever make that Peyton Manning will have horseshoes on his helmet next season.
Nnamdi Asomugha wants to stay out West. I don't care if the Rams play in the NFC West, they are as West as the Dallas Cowboys are East.
Also, Asomugha will demand a very large contract that will likely exceed fifty-million dollars and four years. If the Rams were a cornerback away from the Super Bowl, I'm sure they'd be all for spending the money, but the fact of the matter is they have plenty of holes to fill and they're going to need all of that cash.
Although the thought of having Steven Jackson and DeAngelo Williams in the same backfield is breathtaking, it will most likely never happen.
Williams will demand a hefty contract. The Rams may be in the market for another runningback, but they aren't going to give someone top of the line money to give SJax a breather every now and then.
The Rams have shown they are dedicated to getting Sam Bradford an abundance of weapons, and although they now have a crowded wide receiver position, there has been plenty of speculation they'll go after a big name pass-catcher.
Rice is the best receiver on the market and if the Rams are going to go after one, might as well make a run for the best. His elite size and speed is a perfect fit for any offense; now just imagine what he would do in Josh McDaniels' spread.
Hali would be a dream fit for Spagnuolo and Flajole's defense, but he isn't leaving Kansas City anytime soon.
As condolence, you can keep telling yourself that Hali will be playing in Missouri next year.
I can't see any scenario where LeMarr Woodely leaves the Steelers. We could dream all about how much he'd excel in Spagnuolo's defense, but it isn't going to happen.
As good of a linebacker as Posluzny is, the Rams are pretty set at middle linebacker with James Laurinaitis.
Posluzny's skill set would allow him to be an adequate outside linebacker, but chances are his future is in the middle.
The Rams are set at tackle financially and talent-wise. Clabo won't be a Ram as long as Saffold and Smith are around.
The Rams selection of DE Robert Quinn in the first round of the draft filled a need at defensive end. If they do get another DE, they won't be paying anywhere near the money that Jenkins will demand.
Similar to what I said about Rice, it appears the Rams are going to make an attempt to lure a big-name offensive weapon to St Louis.
If Holmes doesn't prove to be too overpriced, they could decide to make a run at him.
See: Cullen Jenkins.
The Rams drafting Robert Quinn means they won't be financially investing in the DE position during free agency.
Edwards is coming off a very nice year with the Jets and he could receive a serious look from St Louis.
The Rams have showed a lot of caution when it comes to players with character issues, but they could decide that Edwards' upside outweighs his immaturity.
He has good size (6'3" 214 lbs) and speed on the outside and he would provide an immediate upgrade at the receiver position. He doesn't have the greatest hands in the world, but his catch rate did go up from 47% in 2009 to 52% in 2010.
The Rams could definitely find themselves on Edwards' short list.
Like so many of the free agents so far in this list, Babin would cost too much money for a position the Rams are already pretty set at.
If you see a tackle on this list, just skip to the next slide. Unless you love hearing about the future of Saffold and Smith, you'll just be wasting your time.
There is a small possibility the Rams consider Smith to be Bradford's newest weapon, but Smith will likely end up elsewhere. A possible fallback, the Rams are more likely to go after Sidney Rice should they decide to spend big money on a receiver.
It would be nice to have a shut-down corner that would allow Bradley Fletcher more time to develop, but the Rams aren't going to spend top-dollar on a cornerback when they have other needs.
The Rams are set at middle linebacker. Tulloch probably won't leave Tennessee anyways.
If the Rams do decide to pursue a big name receiver, and it appears they will, Jackson and Rice are the two most appealing targets. Jackson is big, physical, and has a knack for scoring touchdowns.
He'd be a nice fit in McDaniels' offense and would give Bradford a large target in the redzone.
It should be noted however that character concerns could cause the Rams to shy away from Jackson in the end.
Grimes is coming off a huge season and will most likely demand a large contract. Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher aren't the best corners in football, but they are good enough that the Rams would rather see them through than dish out big money on a free agent.
The Rams need an upgrade at safety...fast.
With their current roster, they would feature either Craig Dahl or James Butler at SS and their only FS is Darian Stewart.
Landry would provide a huge boost at the position and the Rams should be able to afford him.
Skill-wise, Landry would bring a lot to the table. He is a sound tackler who learned the art of being a safety from one of the best in the business: Ed Reed. This safety is very skilled at coming up and playing the run and possesses adequate coverage skills: basically Craig Dahl 5.0.
I have safety marked as the Rams biggest need and I sincerely hope they realize how bad they are at the position.
Weddle would be an immense upgrade at FS and would help all of Ram nation breathe a little easier.
Nevertheless, it is going to be difficult to wrestle him away from San Diego.
Reports have shown that the Rams are in love with Ike Taylor and if the free agency window ever opens, they'll be one of the more plausible destinations for the cornerback.
A cornerback duo of Taylor/Bartell looks, on paper, a lot better than Bartell/Fletcher. It would be a drastic improvement for the secondary in so many ways and is a possibility that should excite Ram fans.
The Rams need a backup and Bradshaw will want to go to a place where he can be the featured back.
A lot is going to have to change for this to happen.
Although Greenway would be a great fit in the Rams' defense, the Vikings designated him as their franchise player, almost ensuring his future as a Viking.
This isn't all bad news Rams fans—the Vikings' decision to franchise Greenway opens the door for WR Sidney Rice to leave should he decide he doesn't want to wear purple and gold anymore.
Joseph would be a cheaper option at cornerback and his signing would allow Bradley Fletcher more time to develop.
Spagnuolo values tough defensive players and that is something Joseph could bring to the table. With the new CBA deal most likely turning him into an unrestricted FA, expect the Rams to give Joseph some serious consideration.
Logan Mankins is a perfect fit for St Louis. The Pro-Bowl guard would fill the only hole left in the Rams offensive line at right guard and would immediately boost the line to one of the NFL's best. The future would be so friggin' bright.
Too bad the Patriots placed the franchise tag on him. Next!
Light is arguably the best lineman in this class, but the Rams don't need a tackle.
Mikell could find the Rams on his short list in 2011.
They'll have the money necessary to sign him and he would provide a very positive emotional and veteran presence to the secondary. Although a free safety should be a higher priority, Mikell would be a welcomed addition at strong safety, likely taking over for Craig Dahl.
As much as the Rams would love to have Brown, it is highly unlikely he would love to be a Ram.
His touches would take a drastic hit in St. Louis, with the only solution being taking about five to ten touches away from Steven Jackson.
Brown would come at a cheap price, so if he for some reason decides he would like to be a part of the Rams' rebuilding process there is a good chance St. Louis could give him a serious look.
Chris Long, James Hall, Robert Quinn, George Selvie, CJ Ah You
Those will be your defensive ends when the Rams take the field against the Eagles on opening weekend.
Bushrod is a monster at the tackle position. The Rams are hoping Saffold and Smith can become monsters as well.
I guess they could sign Bushrod as the world's largest waterboy, but something tells me he will reject.
Tolbert showed last season that he has all the tools to be a workhouse franchise running back. He could decide to go somewhere he could be a starter, but at the same time, there is a chance he wouldn't be completely against being a backup to one of the better powerbacks in football in Steven Jackson.
The Rams may give Tolbert a look, but they are most likely far more interested in the other free agent back out of San Diego.
Green-Ellis is a restricted free agent, doesn't possess great pass-catching skills, and wouldn't provide a great change of pace to Steven Jackson.
Barring unforeseen events, Green-Ellis won't be a Ram next season.
Benson doesn't fit in with what the Rams are doing. He doesn't have great pass-catching skills, he has character issues, and there isn't much reason to think he will leave Cincinnati.
Benson won't be the Rams' backup next season, not a chance.
I would love to see the Rams sign Ruud just to watch the preseason position battle that would take place between him and Laurinaitis.
No seriously though, Laurinaitis is the future at MLB. This doesn't apply just to the Rams, but possibly to the entire NFL as well.
Bush has proven himself to be a valuable role player so far in his young career and it'd be interesting to see how he'd fit into McDaniels' offense.
He possesses some skills as a pass catcher out of the backfield and his brute strength allows him to run between the tackles better than most. Bush wouldn't be as good of a fit as, say, a Darren Sproles, but his production at the very least deserves a look from the front office.
At lot of Rams fans have been calling for the signing of James Jones, a receiver out in Green Bay with huge potential that is being hindered by the abundance of depth the Packers have at the position.
Jones is the least proven of all the top-rated receivers in this class, but his ceiling is tremendously high. Given the fact that his contract wouldn't be too outrageous, he could be worth the risk.
Roman Harper's performance began to decline last season for unknown reasons, but he is set to have a nice bounce back season in 2011 and would be a great pickup for St Louis.
Last year the SS racked up 98 tackles, 3 sacks, an interception, and six forced fumbles. His play-making ability could be huge for the defense.
As for anyone that believes Harper wouldn't be a good fit for St. Louis, beggars can't be choosers and at this point the signing of any safety would be an upgrade.
The Rams haven't shown any signs of being interested in Joseph Addai and there is plenty of reason for that.
His performance level won't be justifiable for his contract and placing him in a backup role would just be a waste of what talent he does have.
It just isn't a good fit.
Last year the Rams visited with Pool when they faced the possibility of losing OJ Atogwe. Luckily for the Rams, they managed to sign Atogwe to a long-term deal and locked up their safety position for years to come.
One year later, Atogwe is a Redskin, Pool is a free agent, and the Rams are in need of a safety.
All the stars have aligned on this one. Pool possesses good instincts at the free safety position and would be an immense upgrade over... Darian Stewart? Yeah, he'd be an infinite upgrade to the position.
This is the player I see as the most likely signing for the Rams this offseason.
Sproles' skill set fits in perfectly with McDaniels' offense and his abilities in the return game are very enticing. He won't come as cheap as most backups, but his ability to score a touchdown on every touch could prove to be worth it.
Malcolm Floyd has the potential to be a very serviceable receiver in the NFL; not a great receiver, but a solid, dependable target.
If the Rams do go for a receiver, it will be one with a sky-high ceiling such as Rice or Jackson, they already have plenty of receivers with the potential of Floyd.
There isn't much reason to believe Washington will leave Seattle. He resurrected his career there, he thrived there, and he hasn't shown any sign he wants to leave there.
He would be a nice fit in St. Louis, but there is a very slim chance you will ever get to see that materialize.
Sims-Walker has the ability to be a big time receiver in the NFL, but his production has been hampered by inconsistent QB play in Jacksonville.
Putting him on a team with Sam Bradford could prove to be the spark he needs, giving the Rams plenty of reason to give him a serious look. He will also come at a much cheaper price than Rice or Jackson, which is always appealing.
Josh Brown is the man!
Hah! Matt Hasselbeck in a Rams' uniform? That is like Kurt Warner playing for one of the Rams' rivals.
No, this is nothing like that. Hasselbeck won't be a part of the Rams' organization anytime soon. You have my word.
The Rams could decide to give Whitner a look if they look past some of his character concerns.
Just like the rest of the safeties on this list, Whitner would be a large upgrade and would help stabilize the secondary. He probably won't get as serious of a look as Mikell or Pool, but it is a possibility.
Hey Akers, you think you're so unique because you kick with your left foot. I'll take Josh Brown's right foot over your playoff-choking left foot any day!
If the Rams switch to an offensive that utilizes a third tackle, I suppose it'd be plausible. Until that zany run-heavy offense is invented though, Clary's helmet will remain hornless.
Cadillac is a name that has been thrown around as a possible target for the Rams. If they are unable to sign Sproles, this could be a real possibility.
The oft-injured back understands he won't be receiving a huge contract offer and could come at a very reasonable price.
He possesses adequate pass-catching skills and would fit in well with McDaniels' offense. I could definitely see Cadillac suiting up for the Rams next year.