Obviously the biggest thing to get off my chest first is the release of Isaac Bruce. While the team has ardently looked to retain Bruce (Especially now since ten million or so was added to the cap room from 94.5), I think it is a distinct possibility that Bruce plays elsewhere next year. I think he could wind up in the NFC South, either suiting up for Tampa Bay who needs another WR besides Joey Galloway, or as a complement to Steve Smith. What is so troubling about the release of Bruce is:
A) He is the face of the franchise and was there during the "Same Ole Sorry Ass" Rams days of L.A.
B) He is a consistent performer who was a great influence on the crop of young receivers, including Torry Holt
C) He had great chemistry with Marc Bulger
D) The team worked out every scenario to keep Bruce in the STL, but none of them invovled paying the superstar no more than five million a season. However, according to the Post Dispatch, Glover's contract is worth five million in it's first season (http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/rams/story/CABFE67D180E9AD58625712C002479DF?OpenDocument)
However, the release shouldn't surprise anyone since the writing was on the wall for Bruce. When Marshall Faulk was asked to ride the pine, nothing in Rams park was obviously sacred. Now, the Rams are simply replacing another vestige from the Greatest Show on Earth with a younger component, Kevin Curtis.
Although the Rams head into free agency with already one of their big needs taken care of, a defensive tackle, the team still may be looking at Brodrick Bunkley at the #11 spot since Ryan Pickett will be tough to resign as a solid run stuffing tackle who is under the age of 30, and just now hitting the prime of his career. My best guess is that he winds up either in Cleveland or Buffalo.
The Rams also have needs at linebacker, and could go that route if either Chad Greenway or A.J. Hawk are still on the board. Greenway would energize the Rams faithful including myself should the team decide to choose him since he was nothing short of spectacular for his four years at Iowa. However, there are other defensive studs at the #11 spot who I wouldn't mind wearing the blue and gold next year that include:
With all the talk on the defense, as it often is, people often forget the Rams also have needs on the offensive side of the ball, particularly in the interior line. Right now the Rams have two players who retired then came back to play (Andy McCullom and Tom Nutten) and one player who should retire, Adam Timmerman. The Rams need to find a center and another offensive lineman in this draft in my opinion, Claude Terrell may be a keeper on the O-Line, and Richie Incognito missed all of last season with an injury, so he is still a question mark. Scott Tecero is nothing more than a backup, and Blaine Sapia is needed more at tackle to backup that spot since it is a position that is dangerously thin. The Rams also could use a Quarterback since Marc Bulger has only two more years left on his deal, Jamie Martin is old and past his prime, and Ryan Fitzpatrick was more of a Martz guy, and he is gone now. I seriously would not mind if the Rams picked up either Charlie Whitehurst or Brodie Croyle in the second round considering it gives the Rams some solution for the future at a relativley low cost-benefit analysis. Sure the Rams spend a second rounder on a position that won't see the field right away, but at the same time Croyle and Whitehurst might be the best batch of round two QBs I can remember since neither of them have anything seriously wrong with them in terms of physical ability, mechanics, or arm strength. The knock on those two were medical concerns, but if they both checked out fine at the combine, why not take a second round "rain check" so to speak so down the road the team could be in much better standing?
Here is what I think the Rams should do in free agency:
Re-sign CB Corey Ivey
Let SS Adam Archuletta walk since Jerome Carter is waiting in the wings.
Pursue SS Marlon McCree of the Carolina Panthers
Pursue strong-side linebackers Julian Petersen, Brandon Moore, or David Thorton
Pursue middle linebacker Brad Kassell of the Tennessee Titans and Sam Cowart of the Vikings
Of that motley list of players, I hope the Rams wind up with:
SS Marlon McCree - Gives Jerome Carter some competition, and the Rams would upgrade over Archuletta whoever won out
LB Brandon Moore - A little unknown considering he played on a bad team with the 49ers, but he is still young and just hitting his prime, and might be a good option at either linebacker spot
Bruce is staying in St. Louishttp://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/st...EC?OpenDocument