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Rams' moves could provide flexibility

3/7/2010

The Rams are expected to draft a quarterback or defensive tackle if they hold onto the No. 1 overall choice in the 2010 NFL draft.

Their first two moves in free agency -- signing quarterback A.J. Feeley and moving toward an agreement with defensive tackle Fred Robbins -- address the same positions. What does it mean? It means we should be paying close attention.

Feeley and Robbins aren't prominent enough to directly affect which player the Rams select first, but teams do want flexibility heading into the draft. If teams can use free agency to patch holes, they can feel better about whatever decisions they make -- whether it's drafting for value over need or trading out of a spot.

The money St. Louis paid to Feeley -- a reported $6 million over two years -- suggests he'll be the No. 2 quarterback for the Rams in 2010. The Rams still have Marc Bulger, but there's no way I can see them paying his $8.5 million salary. Bringing him back appears unlikely.

Drafting Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford first overall would cast Feeley in the mentor's role, a logical move because Feeley has experience in the Rams' offense from his days in Philadelphia.

Robbins' addition would provide the Rams with needed size in the middle of their defense. Robbins, 32, would also give the Rams a veteran player to help mentor Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, should the Rams select either defensive tackle in the draft. Robbins played under Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo with the Giants. Spagnuolo wants to build a deep rotation on his defensive line.

The money Robbins commands could be somewhat instructive. The team already has recent first-round choice Adam Carriker and restricted free agent Clifton Ryan among its defensive tackles, with Ryan tendered to a second-round choice. Drafting Suh or McCoy would mean directing massive amounts to the position.

Also on the Rams front: The team is expected to visit with Brodney Pool, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Pool was one of the players highlighted here Saturday as NFC West teams considered their options at safety. Any moves the Rams make at safety could give them flexibility in negotiations with former franchise player Oshiomogho Atogwe, an RFA tendered only to right of first refusal.