The Rams are interested in exploring the trade market for the second overall pick in the 2014 Draft and the offensive line might wind up as a good area for them to target with any extra picks acquired in a deal.
The next few months will determine how much need St. Louis has for help at that spot because the team has several decisions to make. Right tackle/right guard Rodger Saffold, left guard Chris Williams and backup guard Shelley Smith are all headed for free agency while injuries cloud the future for three other regulars. Left tackle Jake Long is recovering from a torn ACL, center Scott Wells also finished the season on injured reserve and right guard Harvey Dahl missed four games with injuries.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls Saffold, who has missed 17 games the last three seasons because of injury, the team’s top priority among their own free agents, but his outlook is complicated by the fact that the team would prefer to keep him at guard. Thomas reports he won’t be given a nearly $10 million salary under the franchise tag, which means they’ll either need to sign him to a long-term deal or risk losing him to a bigger offer.
Wells is set to count $6.5 million against the cap after missing 13 games over the last two years while Dahl has a $4 million cap figure next year, two numbers that may need to come down if they are going to return for another season with the team. Long probably isn’t in that kind of danger, but the potential for a delayed return from a torn ACL will make having a strong insurance policy important as the Rams put together their offensive line.
There are plenty of ways for the Rams to go and continuing to close the gap with the NFC West frontrunners will require making the right calls up front on offense.