Mark Clayton Should Be Considered out of St. Louis Rams' WR Battle

Brian TaylorCorrespondent IIIAugust 17, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 2010:  In this handout image provided by the NFL , Mark Clayton  of the Baltimore Ravens poses for his 2010 NFL headshot circa 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  ( Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Last season, it seemed Sam Bradford had found his go-to receiver in Mark Clayton. This season, many Rams fans were hopeful that the duo would create more sparks, but Clayton has yet to be re-signed.

So what's the deal?

Clayton visited the team last Tuesday and worked out for it last Wednesday. John Clayton of ESPN reported that he expects Clayton to re-sign with the St. Louis Rams soon.

In my opinion, the Rams shouldn't bring back Mark Clayton.

His value with the Rams a season ago is undeniable, but that was in just five games. The guy isn't injury prone because he only missed four games in five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. However, he is a very inconsistent player.

A season ago, he opened up with a 10-catch, 119-yard performance against the Arizona Cardinals, only to be followed by a stinker in Oakland where he caught just two passes. Granted, they were both touchdowns, but you would hope for more than two catches from your main receiver.

His entire career in Baltimore was an inconsistent one. As a person who has attended most Raven home games over the past six years, I can attest to that. The Ravens gave him opportunities to take over a starting role. One game he'd be reeling in everything, and the next he'd be dropping the pass that could help them win the game against the New England Patriots.

The main reason Clayton shouldn't be considered in the wide receiver competition is strictly because of the health of his knee. Before the lockout was in place, it appeared the Rams had a deal in place with Clayton. Since the lockout has ended, we have been waiting and waiting on the word of his re-signing. At this point, I question whether or not he will ever come back. His knee isn't healthy yet, and he shouldn't be rushed back on the field.

If Clayton is re-signed, what are his chances of making the roster? It doesn't appear that he will be able to play in any preseason games, so he'll already be behind every other receiver on the current roster. Don't forget that Clayton needs to learn the ins and outs of Josh McDaniels' new system as well. The logic of releasing a younger player like Mardy Gilyard based on the five-game performance of Mark Clayton doesn't make much sense to me.

One final reason to count Clayton out is the fact that the Rams have added four new toys for Sam Bradford since Mark's departure. They drafted Lance Kendricks, Austin Pettis and Greg Salas and signed Mike Sims-Walker to a deal. Whether or not the team was already planning to move on is anybody's guess, but it does have enough players now to let Clayton go.

This article probably makes me look like a Mark Clayton hater, but before you get on that boat, just look at the facts. The Rams have added new young talent to their squad, and one of those players would lose a job to Clayton even though he won't be ready until midseason. His second question mark is that he's been inconsistent dating back to his days in Baltimore.

There is still the chance that the Rams bring back Clayton on a minimum contract and he starts the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. But is he really worth it?