2011 NFL Free Agency: St. Louis Rams Ink LB Zac Diles, CB Al Harris

Ethan NovakAnalyst IIJuly 29, 2011

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 13:  Linebacker Zac Diles #54 of the Houston Texans celebrate after a defensive stop against the Seattle Seahawks at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas. The Texans won 34-7. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The St Louis Rams continued their productive Friday afternoon by agreeing to a contract with Zac Diles, former Houston Texans LB.  The news was reported by Jim Thomas on Twitter a few hours ago:

Rams agree to terms on 1yr deal w/houston olb zach diles.

Diles is a reliable linebacker who is capable of playing either strong or weakside in a 4-3 scheme and should be a pleasant upgrade for a Rams team that struggled at the position in 2010.  

Playing in 15 games last season (10 starts), Diles racked up 82 tackles and showed the potential to be a full-time starter in the NFL.  He has a good nose for the ball and could be a solid tackling machine to go along with MLB James Laurinaitis in the upcoming season.

Why they only gave Diles a one-year deal is up for debate.  Perhaps they feel he needs to prove that he can stay healthy throughout the entirety of a season, or maybe they want to see Diles play up to his full potential, something players tend to do when they only have a year to work with on their contracts.  

Regardless, this is a decent pickup for the Rams and expect Diles to battle it out with David Vobora in the preseason for the starting strongside linebacker role.

In other news, the St Louis Rams are rumored to be close to signing free agent cornerback Al Harris, formerly of the Miami Dolphins.  Per Geoff Mosher:

Clarification: Harris is in St Louis talking with Rams, not signed yet.

This was later reported by CBSSports.com's Ron Clements:

Former Dolphins, Packers and Eagles Pro Bowl CB Al Harris is reportedly in St. Louis and expected to sign with the Rams, according to the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal. Harris, 37, has suffered season-ending leg injuries each of the last two seasons.

This would be an interesting signing by the Rams.  Harris is probably most famously known for returning a Matt Hasselbeck interception for a touchdown in the 2003 Wild Card playoff rounds after Hasselbeck declared, "We want the ball and we're gonna score!" upon winning the coin toss in overtime.  

As Clements stated, Harris has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons, only playing in three games last season.  However, he could prove to be worth the risk.  It isn't as if Harris will be receiving a large contract and outside of Fletcher and Bartell, the Rams are fairly weak at the position.  

Check back for updates regarding the Harris development.  While it does appear he will be a Ram this season, there are no reports of an official agreement as of yet.   

UPDATE: The Rams have agreed to a contract with Al Harris, according to numerous sources. Per National Football Post:

Al Harris agrees to terms with the Rams: Former Green Bay Packer heads to St. Louis on a one-year deal.