If you happen to be a Rams fan, today, March 13th, 2013, was a tough one to swallow. First, the Rams released safety Quintin Mikell to go along with reports surfacing that Brandon Gibson will not be resigned. Plus, Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola’s futures as Rams seem to be in doubt as well.
Ouch. Four quality players are walking out the door. That is certainly a harsh offseason.
But wait, there’s more. Division rival San Francisco acquired veteran and sensation wide receiver Anquan Boldin today for the thrifty price of a 6th round pick. The strong get stronger.
Oh, and let’s not forget about other division rival Seattle trading for the electric wide receiver Percy Harvin. Sure, Harvin has some major injury concerns, but if he can play anything close to his potential, he will drastically improve Seattle’s offense.
Did I mention that today was tough to swallow? Cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins will have their hands full this upcoming season.
So, as a Ram fan you have to be wondering if the Rams can keep up with the others. The answer is yes, so long as they are willing to.
Look, the offense is surely taking some huge hits considering who they are losing. Steven Jackson was the Rams offense for many years. Amendola has been head and shoulders above any other receiver the last few years. Even Gibson has been a good secondary receiver for the team.
There is however a problem with each guy as well.
Jackson has had a diminishing role with the team the last couple of years. Jackson’s numbers have also been descending a well. SJ39 barely managed to break the 1,000 yard mark last season. One could argue that it was behind a patchwork offensive line, but Jackson has done better alongside a worse supporting cast.
Amendola has been great as a Ram, but his concern is clearly his health. Amendola has only played 12 games over the past two seasons. Danny wants premier receiver money, and considering his history, that could be a pretty risky investment.
Gibson’s departure burns considering Amendola’s departure. An already depleted position will lose two more cast members. However, an upgrade over Gibson is needed considering his stats have been mediocre at best.
So, how do you replace these three guys? Both running back and wide receiver are very shallow in this year’s free agent market.
Wes Welker and Greg Jennings are available, but it would be surprising to see the Rams dish out the money that these two will command. There are pretty well no quality running backs out there. Fans will pretty well have to simply hope that Isaiah Pead can put things together in his sophomore campaign.
Draft day will be crucial for the Rams offense. Receivers like Keenan Allen, Tavon Austin, and Cordarelle Patterson could all be on the board when the Rams pick. There are also quality tight ends like Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz that could make an impact in the receiving game.
The one thing Rams fans can still hang their hats on is the defense. Outside Mikell, the group appears to be mostly the same. Also, the draft appears to be very deep at the safety position.
Kenny Vaccaro and Matt Elam are at the top of the board. However, there are still very quality options like Eric Reid and Bacarri Rambo that could slip past the first couple of rounds.
However, the Rams could also chose to address safety in free agency, in which case, things still look pretty good. Dashon Goldson and Glover Quin could be upgrades at safety for the team. We could possibly even see a combination of a free agent and a rookie if Craig Dahl does not return to the Rams as well.
With all the players leaving the Rams, the one positive is that the team has much more cap space. The Rams’ biggest needs this offseason all have potential answers.
Hopefully we will see Jeff Fisher and Les Snead make some serious upgrades to the team in the coming weeks. For now, all we can do is trust the stache.
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