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Monday, March 2, 2009
With Bartell aboard, Rams need strong safety

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Rams DB Pos. Age Status
Jason Craft
CB 33 UFA
Fakhir Brown
CB 31 UFA
Todd Johnson
SS 30 Signed
Ricky Manning
CB 28 UFA
Oshiomogho Atogwe
FS 27 Franchised
Quincy Butler
CB 27 Signed
Ron Bartell
CB 27 Signed
Tye Hill CB 26 Signed
Eric Bassey
S 26 Signed
Jonathan Wade
CB 24 Signed
David Roach
S 23 Signed
Justin King
CB
21 Signed

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams' contract agreement with cornerback Ron Bartell ends a suspenseful few days for both parties. The Rams wanted to keep Bartell without overpaying. Bartell wanted to maximize his value as an ascending young player.

The four-year, $28 million agreement allows Bartell to claim a $7 million average, while the Rams get to keep their best young corner.

The Rams legitimately feared the cornerback market might sweep up Bartell and leave the team with few promising prospects at the position. That's why the team must be happy with this outcome.

The chart breaks down the Rams' current defensive backs, with unrestricted free agents in lighter font. The Rams still could use a strong safety to replace Corey Chavous. They have spoke with James Butler. A handful of other strong safeties remain unsigned.

With significant money invested in Bartell and franchise player Oshiomogho Atogwe, the Rams might become more selective in filling out their secondary.