NFC West: Brandon Gorin

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The first stage in the process of determining compensatory choices for the 2010 draft passed quietly with the June 1 deadline for NFL teams to make qualifying offers to unrestricted free agents. No team extended an offer to a UFA candidate. That means no additional UFA signings this offseason will influence compensatory choices.

The compensatory formula is complex. AdamJT13 has come close to solving it. Basically, the NFL awards additional draft choices to teams that lost free agents more valuable than the free agents teams signed. Values are determined by salaries and on-field contributions.

I had pulled a list of free agents NFC West teams added and lost when I noticed AdamJT13 had already done it on his blog. He notes that it's not yet known whether NFL teams extended qualifying offers to any UFAs. I can provide a small assist here by confirming that no teams extended qualifying offers to any UFAs.

A team-by-team look at the early compensatory picture in the NFC West:
Arizona: The Cardinals added two UFAs from other teams and lost four. They paid $5 million per year to cornerback Bryant McFadden. They lost defensive end Antonio Smith to a deal worth $7.1 million per season. How much those players play and at what level they perform could prove influential. And if former Cardinals cornerback Eric Green enjoys a bounce-back season with the Dolphins, that could improve Arizona's compensatory ledger.

St. Louis: The Rams do not appear to be in strong position in the compensatory race. Center Jason Brown, added from the Ravens at $7.5 million per season, should more than cancel out the Rams' three UFA losses (offensive linemen Brett Romberg, Nick Leckey and Brandon Gorin). The Rams also added Kyle Boller, James Butler and Billy Bajema.

San Francisco: The 49ers also do not appear to be in strong position in the compensatory race. Additions Brandon Jones, Marvel Smith, Demetric Evans and Moran Norris could play quite a bit. The players San Francisco lost -- Bryant Johnson, Ronald Fields, J.T. O'Sullivan, Donald Strickland, Bajema and Sean Ryan -- appear unlikely to cancel out the additions.

Seattle: I would like to hear AdamJT13's analysis on the Seahawks' compensatory situation. The team spent $8 million per season for receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh and nearly $4.4 million per season for defensive tackle Colin Cole. The team lost defensive tackle Rocky Bernard ($4 million), running back Maurice Morris ($2.1 million), fullback Leonard Weaver (nearly $1.8 million), receiver Bobby Engram ($1.25 million) and offensive lineman Floyd Womack ($1 million) among its seven departures.

AdamJT13 was good about helping out when I asked for his input earlier this year. Here's hoping we hear from him again.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Notable Rams to Leave Roster in 2009
Pos. How Departed Roster
Torry Holt
WR Cut
Orlando Pace
OL Cut
Drew Bennett
WR Cut
Trent Green
QB Cut
Anthony Becht
TE Cut
Corey Chavous
SS Cut
Pisa Tinoisamoa
LB Cut
Brian Leonard
RB Trade/Bengals
Gary Stills
LB UFA/unsigned
Jason Craft
CB UFA/unsigned
Ricky Manning
CB UFA/unsigned
Fakhir Brown
CB UFA/unsigned
La'Roi Glover
DT UFA/unsigned
Dane Looker
WR UFA/unsigned
Travis Minor
RB UFA/unsigned
Dante Hall
WR UFA/unsigned
Cory Withrow
OL UFA/unsigned
Rob Petitti
OL UFA/unsigned
Anthony Davis
OL UFA/unsigned
Brandon Gorin
OL UFA/Broncos
Nick Leckey
OL UFA/Saints
Brett Romberg
OL UFA/Falcons

The Rams weren't an 8-8 team seeking a few tweaks to regain their footing. They needed a franchise overhaul after posting a 5-27 record over the past two seasons.

That overhaul has continued with Brian Leonard's trade to the Bengals on Thursday and Pisa Tinoisamoa's release Friday.

Changing over a roster means adding new players in key positions. Adding new players means losing existing ones, and the Rams have parted with quite a few this offseason.

The chart shows notable Rams players to leave the roster since general manager Billy Devaney spearheaded Steve Spagnuolo's hiring as head coach.

Some of the changes were difficult to miss. The releases of Torry Holt and Orlando Pace come to mind. Other changes have come via attrition. In this case, the Rams have decided against re-signing numerous unrestricted free agents. It's significant to note that quite a few of them remain unsigned.

The Rams could always re-sign a free agent or two as they set their roster for training camp. In most cases, however, the team appears eager to move on without them.

Rams' trend means fewer gray areas

April, 30, 2009
4/30/09
5:25
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Rank Team Fewest Players Age 30+
1 Texans 3
2 Packers
4
3 Rams 6
4 Colts 6
5 Bucs
7

Rams kicker Josh Brown joined an increasingly exclusive club when he turned 30 years old Wednesday.

The milestone birthday increased to six the number of Rams players in their 30s (Marc Bulger, Todd Johnson, Chris Draft, Leonard Little and James Hall are the only others).

The Rams have released or not re-signed 14 players in their 30s since last season: Gary Stills, Dante Hall, Jason Craft, Fakhir Brown, Cory Withrow, Dane Looker, La'Roi Glover, Brandon Gorin, Torry Holt, Anthony Becht, Orlando Pace, Drew Bennett, Trent Green and Corey Chavous. The team parted with Dan Kreider and Eddie Kennison, also in their 30s, during the 2008 season.

The teams with the most players in their 30s: Saints 20, Patriots 17, Broncos 15, Browns 15, Redskins 15, Steelers 14 and Lions 14. The Cardinals have 13, the 49ers 12 and the Seahawks 10. The league average is 10.5.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

A quick look at 53-man rosters from Feb. 1, date of Super Bowl XLIII, provides a reference point for seeing how NFC West teams have changed so far this offseason.

I'll continue with St. Louis.

Gone from the Rams' 53-man roster and injured reserve list in the 58 days since the Super Bowl (18):

 
  Kevin Terrell/Getty Images
  Orlando Pace was drafted by the Rams in 1997.

Offense

Orlando Pace, T

Torry Holt, WR

Dante' Hall, WR

Drew Bennett, WR

Dane Looker, WR

Travis Minor, RB

Anthony Becht, TE

Cory Withrow, C

Brett Romberg, C

Anthony Davis, T

Nick Leckey, C

Brandon Gorin, OL

Rob Petitti, OL

Defense

Corey Chavous, SS

Jason Craft, CB

Fakhir Brown, CB

La'Roi Glover, DT

Special teams

Gary Stills, LB

(Read full post)

St. Louis Rams 2009 UFA Watch
Pos. Status
Ron Bartell
CB
Re-signed
Eric Moore
DE
Re-signed
Jason Brown
C
Added
James Butler
SS
Added
Brandon Gorin
OL
UFA
Rob Petitti
OL
UFA
Cory Withrow
OL
UFA
Anthony Davis
OL
UFA
Adam Goldberg
OL
UFA
Travis Minor
RB
UFA
Dane Looker
WR
UFA
Dante Hall
WR
UFA
Ricky Manning
CB
UFA
Jason Craft
CB
UFA
Fakhir Brown
CB
UFA
Gary Stills
LB
UFA
La'Roi Glover DT
UFA
Nick Leckey
C
Saints
Brett Romberg
C
Falcons
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams have more unrestricted free agents -- 13 -- than any NFL team. That is not by accident.

The team is rebuilding with younger players while trimming fat from the payroll and making very targeted additions through free agency.

St. Louis entered the offseason needing to get stronger up the middle on both sides of the ball.

Signing center Jason Brown and fullback Mike Karney helped the cause on offense (Karney is not listed on the chart, which covers only unrestricted free agents). Signing strong safety James Butler should help the defense, although the front seven still needs work.

The Rams are carrying only eight offensive linemen, tied for the league low with the Cardinals, Panthers, Bears, Lions and Jets. NFL teams are carrying 10.5 offensive linemen on average.

The unsigned Adam Goldberg proved valuable last season. As we discussed, the Rams will certainly be targeting offensive linemen in the draft.

Rams free-agency update: Week One

March, 6, 2009
3/06/09
11:45
AM ET
St. Louis Rams
2009 UFA List
Pos. Age
Gary Stills
LB 34
La'Roi Glover
DL 34
Cory Withrow
OL 33
Jason Craft
CB 33
Dane Looker WR 32
Fakhir Brown
CB 31
Brandon Gorin
OL 30
Dante' Hall
KR 30
Travis Minor
RB
29
Brett Romberg
OL 29
Anthony Davis
OL 28
Adam Goldberg
OL 28
Ricky Manning
CB 28
Eric Moore
DL 28
Ron Bartell CB 27
Nick Leckey
OL 26
Rob Petitti
OL 26
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

One week into the NFL free agency period, teams have yet to sign away one of the Rams' unrestricted free agents.

Cornerback Ron Bartell drew interest from the Saints before re-signing in St. Louis, but none of the Rams' other 16 unrestricted free agents has signed a contract.

Former starting center Brett Romberg visited the Falcons.

Half of the Rams' unsigned UFAs are in their 30s, with a quarter of them at least 33.

Seven of the 16 are offensive linemen. No other team has more than four UFA offensive linemen (Seahawks). The Rams still have seven offensive linemen under contract. They will surely draft additional players at the position.

Rams UFA re-signed: Bartell, CB.

Rams UFA lost: none.

Rams UFA added: Jason Brown, C, Ravens.

Restricted free agents: RG Richie Incognito and DE Victor Adeyanju.

Age before beauty: Rams free agents

February, 26, 2009
2/26/09
11:43
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

St. Louis Rams 2009 UFA Candidates
Pos. Age
Gary Stills
LB 34.6
La'Roi Glover
DL 34.6
Cory Withrow
OL 33.8
Jason Craft
CB 33.0
Dane Looker WR 32.8
Fakhir Brown
CB 31.4
Brandon Gorin
OL 30.6
Dante Hall
KR 30.4
Travis Minor
RB
29.6
Brett Romberg
OL 29.3
Anthony Davis
OL 28.9
Adam Goldberg
OL 28.5
Ricky Manning
CB 28.2
Eric Moore
DL 27.9
Ron Bartell CB 27.0
Nick Leckey
OL 26.9
Rob Petitti
OL 26.7

The Rams could conceivably part with every one of their unrestricted free agents this offseason.

They will try to re-sign cornerback Ron Bartell. They could bring back a few others. But when a new front office and new coaching staff inherit a team with five victories over two seasons, serious roster trimming tends to ensue.

The chart ranks the Rams' scheduled unrestricted free agents from oldest to youngest, with ages rounded down to the tenth. Four are at least 33 years old. Four more are at least 30. Two more -- Travis Minor and Brett Romberg -- turn 30 during the 2009 season.

Bartell is clearly the Rams' most attractive UFA candidate. His case is a tough one for the Rams.

While the team would like to retain its best young talent, the coaching staff doesn't know Bartell well enough to make informed judgments about his longterm potential. And with the market for cornerbacks drying up, Bartell might command a significant contract on the open market.

Rams Player aged 30 or older with contract for 2009 2009 Salary Cap Value Value if Released
Trent Green
$2.7M $1.4M
Leonard Little
$7.6M $5.1M
Orlando Pace
$9.0M
$3.0M
Chris Draft
$1.8M $433K
Torry Holt
$10.2M $2.2M
James Hall
$1.4M $350K
Marc Bulger
$8.5M $11.0M
Anthony Becht
$1.1M $135K
Drew Bennett
$5.1M $5.0M
Todd Johnson
$1.1M $400K

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams' decision to release veteran strong safety Corey Chavous, 33, makes them younger and faster in the secondary while reducing a $2.8 million salary-cap charge to $1.6 million.

I would expect the Rams to continue trimming older players from their roster as new coach Steve Spagnuolo establishes a new program.

The chart lists every Rams player in his 30s with a contract for 2009. The middle column shows how much the player's contract counts against the salary cap in 2009. The third column shows how much the player's contract counts if the Rams release the player this offseason.

The Rams were the third-oldest team in the league for most of last season, based on to-the-day age breakdowns I maintain. In addition to the 10 players listed, the Rams have eight players in their 30s without contracts for the 2009 season:

Free-agency recap: How Rams fared

February, 12, 2009
2/12/09
5:17
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Rams Player
How Acquired/ Lost Bad move?
Josh Brown
UFA Addition
No
Jacob Bell
UFA Addition
Yes
Anthony Becht
UFA Addition
No
David Macklin
UFA Addition
No
Reche Caldwell
UFA Addition
No
Brandon Gorin
UFA Re-sign No
Brett Romberg UFA Re-sign No
Adam Goldberg
UFA Re-sign No
Oshiomogho Atogwe
RFA Re-sign
No
Milford Brown
UFA Lost
No
Brandon Chillar
UFA Lost
Yes

If the Rams knew how bad they were going to be in 2008, they presumably would have added more than a kicker and a guard in unrestricted free agency.

Paying a $7 million signing bonus for Tennessee guard Jacob Bell might have worked better if Bell could have brought the rest of the Titans' offensive line to St. Louis as well.

The Rams' line struggled again. Josh Brown, signed to help the Rams win close games, continued to distinguish himself as one of the best long-range field goal kickers in the league. He made 10 of 13 tries from 40 to 49 yards and 6 of 8 from 50 yards or longer.

Retaining safety Oshiomogho Atogwe as a restricted free agent was an easy call.

I did not watch Brandon Chillar play for Green Bay this season, but the Rams could have used another linebacker. Some of the Rams' other moves -- adding Reche Caldwell, for example -- escaped serious criticism here because they cost relatively little financially.

12-game checkup painful for some

December, 4, 2008
12/04/08
6:46
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

As a followup to the item about injury situations that matter, here's a quick look at the players on injured reserve for each team in the NFC West:

Note that some players leave IR through injury settlements or waivers (the Cardinals' handling of center Al Johnson comes to mind). The players listed above remain on injured reserve.

I also went through and counted how many players for each team have started all 12 games for their teams this season. The counts:

  • 49ers: 11
  • Cardinals: 10
  • Seahawks: 6
  • Rams: 6
Kurt Warner is the only quarterback in the division to start every game for his team this season. The Cardinals have remained remarkably healthy in terms of not losing key players for extended periods. They have their share of players battling through injuries -- Mike Gandy on a bad ankle, Adrian Wilson with a bum shoulder -- but key players remain available.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Receiver Billy McMullen has joined nine other Seattle players on injured reserve as the Seahawks matched Baltimore for the most players on IR heading into Week 7.

Seattle's list features four receivers: McMullen, Logan Payne, Nate Burleson and Ben Obomanu. All but Obomanu started a regular-season game for the Seahawks this season. Obomanu surely would have started had he not been injured during the exhibition season.

Also on IR for Seattle: guard Rob Sims, guard Chris Gray, long snapper Tyler Schmitt, tackle William Robinson, cornerback DeMichael Dizer and linebacker Wesly Mallard.

A quick look at IR lists for the other NFC West teams:

The Rams' IR list includes several players expected to contribute this season. McMichael was a big part of the offense. King was likely going to be the third corner. Manning was playing extensively after injuries sidelined King and Tye Hill. Setterstrom and Gorin comprised much of the team's depth on the offensive line.

Quick look at injured-reserve lists

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
10:45
AM ET
TeamNFC West player on injured reservePos.Starter
ARIAl JohnsonOLYes
ARIScott PetersOLNo
SEARob SimsOLYes
SEANate Burleson
WR
Yes
SEAChris Gray
OL
No
SEABen ObomanuWRNo
SEATyler SchmittLSNo
SEAWilliam RobinsonOLNo
SEAWesly MallardLBNo
SEADeMichael DizerCBNo
SFAlex SmithQBNo
SFJay MooreLBNo
SFDamane DuckettOLNo
STLJustin KingDBNo
STLMark SetterstromOLNo
STLBrandon GorinOLNo
STLRob PetittiOLNo

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

NFC West teams are carrying 17 players on injured reserve lists. That ranks tied for second with the AFC South by my count, trailing only the AFC North (23).

Seattle has eight players on IR, most in the league. This includes two players I had listed as starters, tied with Jacksonville for most in the league. The Jaguars lost both starting guards.

These figures count only players currently on IR lists. Teams have placed other players on IR, only to waive them once the players became healthy. Some teams have reached injury settlements with players, sparing those players from IR.

Arizona and San Francisco have remained quite healthy so far. The Rams lost key depth at cornerback and along the offensive line. The Seahawks have lost key depth at receiver and on the offensive line.

NFC West teams have no players on their physically unable to perform (PUP) lists. I'm counting 16 players on PUP across the league, including six in the AFC South.

Players on IR get paid. In most cases, they cannot return until the following season.

NFC West: Injury situations that matter

September, 12, 2008
9/12/08
7:04
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Arizona: The Cardinals' depth at nose tackle is improving. Backup Alan Branch could return this week. Starter Gabe Watson might need more time. Bryan Robinson gets the start. The 49ers moved him out of the middle in the running game last week.

San Francisco: The 49ers are mostly healthy. Center Eric Heitmann is dealing with a shoulder problem. He returned to practice Friday. Right guard Tony Wragge was effective moving to center last week. David Baas stepped in at guard. Heitmann's health matters more this week because Seattle's Rocky Bernard has excellent quickness for an interior defensive lineman, and Brandon Mebane is stout against the run.

St. Louis: The Rams have problems on both lines. Left guard Jacob Bell could miss a few games while recovering from a hamstring injury. Backup guards Mark Setterstrom and Brandon Gorin are already on injured reserve. Backup right tackle Adam Goldberg will start at left guard for the Rams. On defense, the Rams are without Leonard Little, their best pass rusher. Injuries have also depleted the receiver position, which wasn't deep to begin with.

Seattle: The Seahawks' outlook at receiver is beyond bleak. Seattle lacks the personnel to exploit the 49ers' loss of cornerback Donald Strickland to injury. Depth at running back is weaker without Maurice Morris. The offensive line is searching for continuity while adding Floyd Womack at right guard. Marcus Trufant's hand injury could affect his ability to intercept passes.

Linemen falling fast in NFC West

September, 10, 2008
9/10/08
5:07
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

It's early in the season, but injuries are already affecting offensive lines in the division. A quick look at those situations on a team-by-team basis:

  • Arizona: Starting center Al Johnson went on injured reserve before the opener. The Cardinals like his replacement, Lyle Sendlein, as much or more. Left tackle Mike Gandy played through a bruised knee suffered late in preseason.
  • St. Louis: Starting left guard Jacob Bell, one of the Rams' key offseason acquisitions, missed practice Wednesday. He suffered a hamstring injury against the Eagles in the opener. Roy Schuening or John Greco could start in Bell's place. Both are rookies. Neither was active last week. Backup guards Brandon Gorin and Mark Setterstrom are already on injured reserve. Left tackle Orlando Pace took a hard shot to the ribs in that game, but the team said he's OK.
  • San Francisco: Starting center Eric Heitmann returned to the 49ers' season opener after a shoulder injury forced him to the sideline for part of the game. Right tackle Jonas Jennings is playing with a broken knuckle. David Baas is back from pectoral surgery, but Tony Wragge took his starting job at right guard.
  • Seattle: Starting right guard Rob Sims went on injured reserve today. Floyd Womack replaces him. Womack has a long history of injuries. Mansfield Wrotto backs up Womack. Center Chris Spencer started the opener after missing most of camp with a back injury. The team lost depth at all three interior positions when a back injury forced former longtime starter Chris Gray into retirement. Ray Willis continues to start at right tackle while Sean Locklear recovers from a knee injury.
As bad as NFC West lines have it, things could be worse. Jacksonville lost both starting guards to season-ending injuries.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams visited with center LeCharles Bentley recently, but the sides did not agree to a contract. The Rams' depth on their offensive line took a hit when Mark Setterstrom and Brandon Gorin went on injured reserve. Center Brett Romberg is recovering from a broken hand. Injuries have prevented Bentley from playing since the 2005 season.

Peter King of SI.com predicts another playoff appearance for Mike Holmgren and the Seahawks. He also touches on the likelihood of Holmgren returning to the NFL as early as 2009, either as a coach or front-office person.

King also quotes 49ers coach Mike Nolan on J.T. O'Sullivan and the other quarterbacks this way: "Thus far, J.T.'s been better than the other two, and there hasn't really been much of a gray area. His play's been better at the position than what we've had at any point in the last three years."

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers says Nolan is denying the part about O'Sullivan's play being "better at the position than what what we've had at any point in the last three years." Nolan says he wasn't singling out O'Sullivan for praise with that remark. Nolan says the level of play at the position is higher than it's been. The original quote praises O'Sullivan at the expense of backup Alex Smith.

Dan Brown of 49ers Hot Read compares Smith's numbers against those of other struggling quarterbacks with at least 400 attempts over the last three seasons. Brown also tries to make sense of Nolan's latest comments, then thinks better of it.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with 49ers running back Frank Gore, who felt a "black cloud" hung over the 49ers last season.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has not named Kurt Warner the starter. ESPN's Chris Mortensen said Warner was "expected to" be named the starter. Reading through the quotes from Whisenhunt, the coach denied that he had made a decision. He did not deny what the decision was expected to be.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Matt Leinart is proceeding as the Cardinals' starter, and that Whisenhunt has told Leinart the team has made no decision. Leinart on his struggles against the Raiders: "If it was mental, where I was completely lost and completely unprepared, then it would be something where I need to figure out what's going on. But that's not the case. You just move on; that's in the past."

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