Rams free-agent preview: Quarterback

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
3:00
PM ET
The free-agent market is scheduled to begin March 11 and teams may begin negotiations with those poised to hit the market beginning March 8. We'll countdown to that with a position-by-position look at what the Rams have in place, who is set to hit the market, what they might need and who might fit the bill.

In place: Apparently it can't be said enough but Sam Bradford is the starting quarterback and nothing that happens this offseason barring a major setback in his rehabilitation from knee surgery is going to change that. Coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead have voiced confidence in Bradford at every turn. Although smoke screens are common at this time of year, there has yet to be anything resembling a reason not to believe them.

Pending free agents: Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis, Brady Quinn

What's needed: The Rams could use one, maybe two backups for Bradford. They were left short handed when Bradford initially suffered the injury and after it was official that Bradford's season was over, the team brought in two more signal callers in Davis and Quinn to backup Clemens.

Clemens surprised with his performance in the final nine games and might have done enough to earn a return to St. Louis. If nothing else, Clemens is a highly-respected part of the locker room and a valuable mentor for the team's young receivers as well as any potential quarterback addition the team might make in the draft.

In fact, if the Rams choose to keep three quarterbacks in 2014, Clemens would make a lot of sense as the early-season backup while he grooms another youngster to eventually take over as the No. 2 and potentially push Bradford long-term.

It seems unlikely Davis or Quinn will return as the Rams have made no secret of their interest in adding a young quarterback in the draft. That player could come as soon as the second round but likely will come from the middle (3rd-5th) rounds.

Possible fits: It's almost certain that the Rams will add a quarterback in the draft, meaning an outside free agent isn't likely to be in the offing. Clemens is the most logical candidate to return as a veteran presence but there is a name that could be out there who has some ties to the team. The New York Jets are expected to part ways with Mark Sanchez and Sanchez knows Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's system well.

Verdict: Clemens is a better fit than Sanchez for the veteran role, however. You can never rule out anything when it comes to the NFL but the guess here is that the Rams will draft a quarterback in the middle rounds and bring Clemens back to tutor him.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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