AS EXPECTED, SOME NFL TEAMS ARE OVERPAYING FOR FREE AGENTS. The prime example is the seven year, 50 million dollar deal Dallas gave offensive lineman Leonard Davis. The former number two overall pick was a major bust in Phoenix. He's been part of a terrible offensive line situation that helped cost Kurt Warner his starting job. The only shot that Davis has to make an impact is if he plays guard. He isn't nearly athletic enough to play tackle. The 49ers also overpaid for corner Nate Clements. 80 million is a little steep. But, at least Clements is a proven commodity and will immediately upgrade the 49ers secondary. I was thrilled that the 49ers were not able to sign Adalius Thomas as rumored. He signed with New England. That guy would have been a thorn in the Rams' side for years in the NFC West.
I'd love to see the Rams take a run at running back Marcel Shipp. He's a hard running, versatile back who has been a part-time starter in Arizona. He'd be the reliable back up that the Rams are looking for. The knock on him is pass blocking which Scott Linehan considers very important. That's what coaches are for. Guys are getting paid big bucks to coach in the NFL, they should be able to improve a guy's pass blocking.
Why haven't the Rams made a move for a nose tackle?. There aren't any out there in free agency. None worth throwing major money at. I saw the list back in December and was very unimpressed. The guy I might have gone after is St. Louis native Hollis Thomas. But, the Saints realized how weak the market was and locked him up with a lucrative deal despite the fact that he's 32 years old. Real defensive tackle help is going to have to come in the draft. And, speaking of coaches, it's up to the Rams staff and specifically Brian Baker to get last year's third round pick Claude Wroten up to speed. After that pick, we heard over and over that Wroten had first round talent. Yet, his contribution as a rookie was VERY minimal. I know he has good quicks and an impressive burst but we didn't see much from him on Sundays. He's not a nose tackle though--more of a "three technique"--a guy that has to thrive in the gaps. An upgrade at nose tackle is still a MUST. I will not make the same mistake I did last year--assuming that the defense will be better just for having Jim Haslett and his system here. It didn't work that way last year. Improving the talent is a must. Having said that, I do like the addition of James Hall for a fifth round pick. And, I'd love to see them sign Tully Banta-Cain. The combination of those two guys might improve a medicore pass rush. But, Banta-Cain is coming from a 3-4 system in New England and wants to continue looking for his best situation.
All-pro linebacker Lance Briggs is barking about wanting out of Chicago because the Bears put the franchise tag on him. Hard to tell if he's serious or just posturing but I will say this: if he really wants out and the Bears would entertain a trade, I'd try to package a combo of draft picks and get it done. And, I'd have no trouble throwing the Rams number one pick at the Bears. I'd bet that Briggs will be a lot more productive player the next three of four years than anyone in that number 13 slot will be. The guy is a difference maker and setting him alongside Will Witherspoon and Pisa Tinoisomoa would give the Rams a DYNAMIC linebacker group.
Why is punter Matt Turk on the market? Why isn't a deal already done with his agent. Unless his agent is asking for a ridiculous sum, I don't get this. The Rams punting had been atrocious before Turk arrived. Don't let him get away and have to start over.
Delighted to see Lovie Smith get the big contract extension from the Bears. But, I don't understand why he's trading running back Thomas Jones to the Jets for a second round pick. Jones is one of the most underrated backs in the league and a real key to the Bears offense the past two seasons. They're ready to turn his duties over to Cedric Benson. I'm not sold on his durability or versatiltiy. I think the Bears will be missing Jones by mid season.