Tuesday, May 14, 2013
2013 NFC West offseason glance: Rams
By Mike Sando
A look at the St. Louis Rams' offseason to this point ...
What went right: The team was able to sign left tackle Jake Long without much apparent competition from other teams, keeping the price more reasonable. ... The first round of the draft went to script for the Rams. They wanted Tavon Austin and traded up to select him before any other team selected a skill-position player. The team then snagged its other first-round target, Alec Ogletree, after trading back to recoup picks. ... The Rams kept together their offensive staff, allowing quarterback Sam Bradford to remain in the same system. Bradford had played under a different coordinator in each of his first three NFL seasons. ... The Gregg Williams saga went away when the NFL reinstated the Rams' would-be defensive coordinator, allowing Williams to take a job with Tennessee. ... Steven Jackson left the team without any evidence of hard feelings. ... The NFL scheduled the Rams for "Monday Night Football" in the Edwards Jones Dome, a first since 2006. ... The Rams were "pleased" with an arbitrator's decision regarding stadium upgrades. ... The Bradford-has-no-weapons storyline took a hit with Austin, Stedman Bailey and Jared Cook arriving. ... Defensive end William Hayes, a key to the pass rush in coach Jeff Fisher's eyes, re-signed for what seemed like a reasonable price. That kept together a strength of the team.
What went wrong: Authorities in Montana arrested cornerback Trumaine Johnson on suspicion of drunk driving, not his first brush with the law. ... Strong safety Quintin Mikell refused to accepted a pay reduction. Releasing Mikell absolved the Rams from paying his $9 million salary for 2013, but the team still must account for $6 million in cap charges. ... The price for keeping receiver Danny Amendola was higher than the Rams were willing to pay, removing from the offense one of Bradford's preferred targets. ... Versatile offensive lineman Robert Turner left in free agency.
The bottom line: What went right outweighs what went wrong. I was reaching to find items in the latter category and resisted adding a note about the team being unable to keep Jackson at a reduced salary. My feeling was that the Rams valued Jackson, but they were also ready to move forward with younger players. The Rams have made the NFL's youngest roster even younger, so there are some short-term uncertainties surrounding this team. However, the longer-range plan is proceeding on schedule.
Your turn: Any significant omissions here?