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Grading the Rams 2014 Free Agent Class

After almost two weeks of no moves the Rams looked like they were not to keen on any free agents this year. But, in true Snead and Fisher form, after most of the big name free agents got big contracts the Rams decided to go bargain shopping. This class of free agency includes resigns Rodger Saffold and JoLonn Dunbar along with out-of-house free agents Alex Carrington, Kenny Britt, Shaun Hill, and Greg Reid. Let’s dive in and look at each signing

Rodger Saffold – 5-years / 31.7 million (19.5 million guaranteed)

The contract the Rams were able to workout with Saffold after he “failed” the Raiders physical is much less then he would have got in the open market. There should not be much concern about his failed physical with the Raiders because the Rams staff knows the extent of Saffold’s injury more in depth then the Raiders and it is very likely that Oakland did not pass him on the physical once they got cold feet on his ridiculous 40+ million dollar deal. Saffold has the ability to play four out of five of the positions on the offensive line at an above average level and can play right guard or right tackle at an elite level. Saffold’s resign gives the Rams lots of options on what they want to do in the draft and among the offensive line. My grade for this sign is a B. The only reason that holds me back from a higher grade is Saffold’s questionable loyalty and motivation, as he wants to start at left tackle.

JoLonn Dunbar – 2-years / 2.1 million (128k guaranteed)

The JoLonn Dunbar resign was the most underrated move of the Rams offseason. Gregg Williams has ties to Dunbar in New Orleans and loves his skill set in his defense. With only 128k of Dunbar’s contract guaranteed, it keeps the risk for the Rams very low. Most of the money in this contract is tied up in playing time incentives, which gives Dunbar an incentive to keep his noise clean and work on his game to get on the field. My grade for this sign is an A+. If Dunbar flops and can’t stay out of trouble the Rams take almost no hit at all, if Dunbar works out and plays at the level he his capable of the Rams get an outstanding linebacker for very little money.

Alex Carrington – 1-year / 1.5 million (1 million guaranteed)

It’s hard to get too excited about the Alex Carrington signing. Carrington was brought in on a one-year deal almost strictly for depth purposes. What you do have to like about Carrington is he can play the defensive end or tackle position so, depending on what happens in the draft he could find himself a little playing time on the interior defensive line. My grade for this sign is a C+. Carrington may have some untapped potential but the price tag is a little too much for a player of his current skill set.

Kenny Britt – 1-year / 1.4 million (550k guaranteed)

Did the Rams just find their new number one receiver? Personally, I think they did. This is essentially a one year “prove it” deal. If Britt comes out and produces at the level of a number one receiver he could be looking at a huge extension. Britt’s a legit big receiver threat on the outside, the first one St. Louis has had in a very long time. Even though Britt carries off the field baggage, Fisher has a history of turning guys like this around and Britt worked very well with Fisher in Tennessee. What most people may fail to realize about this sign is that it is actually more about Tavon Austin then it is Kenny Britt. With Britt’s big body demanding attention outside and Jared Cook working as a possession threat, this opens up the middle of the field for Tavon Austin to get the ball in space. My grade for this sign is a B mainly because of what this sign means for Austin. The main downside of this sign is Britt’s knee problems could potentially be an issue.

Shaun Hill 1-year / 1.75 million (guaranteed money not released yet)

This sign is an automatic upgrade from Kellen Clemmons. Shaun Hill is a proven veteran back up and can a win this team a few games in gritty fashion is if Sam Bradford goes down. The Rams need to draft a developmental back up quarterback in the later rounds of this draft, and Shaun Hill gives the Rams a great mentor for both Bradford and this future quarterback. Make no mistake though; Shaun Hill will not challenge Bradford for the starting spot. The money is right for this kind of deal. My grade for this sign is an A.

Greg Reid 3-years / 1.53 million (no guaranteed money)

If JoLonn Dunbar’s resign was the most underrated sign of the Rams offseason then Greg Reid was the most interesting sign of the offseason. This is a no-risk, high-reward situation for St. Louis. Reid’s contract has no guaranteed money so St. Louis can virtually cut him whenever they want and lose nothing. Reid was a former cornerback and returner standout at Florida State. After too torn ACL’s and some run-ins with the law he found himself out of the game. Reid performed at FSU’s pro day and a lot of scouts think that he out performed projected first round pick Lamarcus Joyner. By taking a flyer on Reid the Rams might find an elite corner for almost no money what so ever. Once again, Fisher has a history of turning guys like this around. Even though Reid is a project player he could see playing time immediately at CB3. My grade for this sign is an A+ because it carries no risk and could have a huge payoff.


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One Response to “Grading the Rams 2014 Free Agent Class”

  1. B.J. Rassam says:

    There’s nothing too significant about these free agents signings by the Rams; and definitely nothing here that will move the needle in a positive way for the Rams in the NFC West.

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