4 Free Agents Who Won't Be Signing with the St. Louis Rams
Free agency kicks off March 10, and the St. Louis Rams are currently scrambling for a game plan. St. Louis has a number of targets on its radar, but there's also a handful of players who will fall well out of reach.
Outside of last offseason, the Jeff Fisher-Les Snead regime has been relatively active in free agency. The team signed Cortland Finnegan during Fisher's first season, and Jake Long and Jared Cook were added in free agency a year later.
In 2014, the team remained totally silent during the opening days of free agency and made zero headline-worthy noise. It's possible the cap situation handcuffed the team, or that Fisher was flat out not impressed with the class. Then again, it could be that the questionable production of past free agents discouraged the team, forcing it to take another approach.
It'll be interesting to see whether St. Louis shies away once again, or if a desperate Rams team will be on the phone, frantically dialing agents.
Either way, given the team's history and its hit-or-miss approach with free agents, we can safely assume the Rams will not be pursuing the elite free agents of this class, which has historically been the case.
In an effort to spare your hopes, this article will outline four high-end free agents who basically have no chance of being pursued by the Rams. Either the asking price is too outlandish, the scheme is a bad fit, or the player is flat out overrated.
DT Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions
Ndamukong Suh—the Detroit Lions' controversial yet dominant defensive tackle—is entering the market and is likely the premier free agent of this class.
The Rams had an opportunity to draft Suh when they owned the No. 1 overall pick during the 2010 draft, but the team opted for Sam Bradford instead. There was much debate among fans over the pick, but Bradford was the right selection for the team at the time.
Some might be thinking that this free-agency period is an opportunity to correct what some perceive as a mistake by signing Suh, but that's just not going to happen.
Bleacher Report insider Jason Cole reported that Suh's ideal destination is the Seattle Seahawks, which is hardly a surprise given his bully mentality. The Rams play with a similar nastiness on defense, but the Seahawks also win with consistency, which the Rams have failed to do.
In addition to Seattle, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported early in the 2014 season that Suh is also eyeing a chance to play in New York.
Between the glamour and fame New York has to offer and the dominance of the Seattle franchise, it's only safe to assume that Suh is off St. Louis' radar.
Not that the Rams really care. With Pro Bowler Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers manning the middle, Suh is nothing more than a luxury, and likely an expensive one at that.
Alternative: None. Stick with Donald and Brockers.
WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Thomas has produced over 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons, and that type of consistent production is going to land him a contract comparable to Jordy Nelson and Brandon Marshall—around $10 million per year on average.
Since incumbent receivers Brian Quick, Kenny Britt and Stedman Bailey all showed such potential in 2014, it'd be a major shock if the Rams pursued a costly top-shelf receiver in free agency. That's hardly an All-Pro lineup, but we've seen what the Rams receivers are capable of if given a chance, so it'd be worth it to give them another shot before spending money.
The first round of the draft also has several attractive candidates at receiver, including Alabama's Amari Cooper and Oklahoma's Dorial Green-Beckham. If the Rams are dedicated to finding a No. 1 receiver, the draft is likely the way to go.
Not to mention, Thomas' three seasons of consistency only began once Peyton Manning took over under center in Denver. Not that Manning deserves all of the credit, but his receivers have this peculiar way of effortlessly putting up 1,000-yard seasons when he's on the field.
Given the price and the fact that Thomas hasn't had any real success with anyone other than Manning, the Rams need to pass.
Alternative: Re-sign Britt and analyze the top receivers of the 2015 draft class.
RB Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
No one loves the run game more than Jeff Fisher, but St. Louis' approach to running backs has called for drafting young runners rather than inking banged-up veterans to sizable contracts.
St. Louis could use some depth behind Tre Mason. Benny Cunningham has been solid, but the Rams would hardly be comfortable throwing him in the No. 1 role if Mason goes down. Zac Stacy is an option, but he barely saw the field in 2014 and appears to be in the doghouse for some unknown reason.
An additional back would be more useful than many believe, but signing a veteran like Ryan Mathews will do little good, even in a No. 2 role.
Mathews has been incapable of staying healthy throughout his career. In his five NFL seasons, he has yet to start 16 games. The 2014 season was his worst year yet—he suited up for just six games.
The Rams could certainly use a guy with Mathews' talents somewhere in the backfield, but he can't really help the team if he's constantly on the sidelines.
If the Rams feel it's necessary to address the running back position, they should probably do so in the draft.
Alternative: Draft a late-round rookie, or wait for veteran cuts at the end of training camp.
CB Darrelle Revis, New England Patriots
The pass defense was a liability for most of the 2014 season, but replacing one of the young cornerbacks with a pricey veteran is hardly the answer.
Janoris Jenkins was burned on multiple occasions, but the lack of help from the safety position contributed to those mental lapses. He also managed to throw in a few defensive touchdowns, and he has been St. Louis' best cornerback for the past three seasons. The Rams need Jenkins on the field, and they need him to overcome his mistakes.
Trumaine Johnson and E.J. Gaines are both more than capable of starting and playing up to standards. Gaines was a rookie in 2014 and a full-time starter, and his production will only get better as he matures. He was a steal in the sixth round of the draft.
It's frustrating to watch the pass defense crumble at times, but the cornerback position is fine. If anything, the Rams need to find safeties who are smarter and better in coverage, as the run-stuffing safeties currently on the roster are not getting it done.
The last thing the Rams need is an overpriced veteran whose best days are behind him. Revis plays for his contract rather than playing for his team, and this young and impressionable Rams roster will not benefit from his presence.
Alternative: Find a coverage safety in the 2015 draft.