Everyone can’t stop talking about the Seahawks and 49ers, yet they all seem to forget it was the St. Louis Rams who swept the NFC West division last season. They know how to beat the so called “powerhouses” and they’ve only gotten better since. With so much success building through the draft, could they look to acquire more assets through the NFL trade market?
The number that will stick out when mentioning the name of Rodger Saffold is 13. That is how many games the highly touted St. Louis Rams tackle has missed over the past two seasons. After such stellar rookie season the luster of the 2010 second-round pick has worn off. His contract is up after 2013 and nobody is sure if a move to the right tackle spot is enough to save him. The sad part is he is 25-years old and a very efficient lineman when healthy. Regardless, teams don’t have time for players who can’t stay on the field. Luckily for Saffold his age and physical prowess would still be attractive to a lot of other teams on the trade market. Though he becomes a free agent soon anyway, a fair demand of a low round pick might entice a lineman-starved team to negotiate.
Another case of loaded potential hinging on a productive season. Brian Quick joined the Rams as a 6’3″ monster who figured to become the top target for quarterback Sam Bradford. Instead he managed just 156 yards in 14 games. Word out of St. Louis doesn’t paint a pretty picture either. According to sources Quick has regressed to 4th on the offensive depth chart behind Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, and Chris Givens. That is not meeting expectations for a second round pick. Jeff Fisher is a coach notorious for not taking any nonsense from his players, on or off the field. If Quick doesn’t make an impression soon the Rams aren’t going to let him linger on the roster for too long.
Fisher knows something about defense and is especially good at identifying talented corners. That is how he drafted Cortland Finnegan in Tennessee and then brought him to St. Louis. He quickly entered a leadership role, helping the Rams turn one of the worst defenses in the NFL in one of the best. His 101 tackles, 3 interceptions and a sack were an understated part of their success. So why would St. Louis trade it away? One simple word: value. Finnegan is 29-years old, hasn’t missed a game since 2009 and is one of the best physical corners in football. The problem is the Rams have done such a good job building their roster through the draft that they have reserves in place who could start including Trumaine Johnson. Given how much the league has shifted to the passing game, having a feisty, durable corner is at a premium for teams. It’s not a huge stretch to think the St. Louis Rams can’t get away with a solid deal for the veteran.