The St.Louis Rams offense could look very different come next season. They recently plucked former Detroit Lions problem, er, receiver Titus Young off of waivers. It’s a low risk, high reward move that could pay off very well if he stays out of trouble. All that’s left now is to deal with their own receivers that are set to hit free agency. More specifically Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson.
The Rams are right up against the cap, with only a meagre 1.8 million in projected cap space for the 2013 season. Their situation isn’t all that bad though. There is a good chance Sam Bradford’s deal will be re-structured and Wayne Hunter will most likely be cut. I’m also hearing that Quintin Mikell could be a cap victim as well, but I have my doubts. He had a fairly productive 2012 season, and isn’t being all that grossly overpaid. There is also the possibility that Steven Jackson walks in free agency with his player’s option.
Brandon Gibson will most likely hit free agency. He had a strong 2012 campaign, getting better as the season went on. By that same token the Rams have way too many receivers now to justify paying large to keep him. They can surely survive his absence next season, Danny Amendola’s, not so much.
Danny Amendola is set to become an unrestricted free agent. For the last three years or so the Patriots have been rumoured to be interested in Amendola. It is all but a virtual certainty Wes Welker will walk in free agency, so expect them to try very hard to sign Amendola. Otherwise known as the “Poor Man’s Welker”. This is something Rams management absolutely can not let happen.
Few receivers are as valuable to their team as Amendola. Amendola returns punts, and as of last season now has the ability to line up in the slot or on the outside. The most telling stat with regards to his value to the St.Louis Rams though, has to be their record with and without him in the lineup. Since 2010 the Rams have gone 12-14 with Amendola in the lineup, which isn’t great but compared to their 3-15 record without him in the lineup it’s pretty good. Even though he only played 11 games this season, Amendola was little over 30 yards behind the Rams leading receiver Chris Givens with 666. Despite struggling with injuries all season he averaged 60.5 yards per game, and led the team with 63 receptions.
There is certainly some risk involved with signing a receiver that’s only played in 12 games over the last two season. Especially to a long term deal. Losing Amendola though, is something the Rams offense can’t afford. If the Rams can sign Amendola before free agency it means for the first time in his short career Sam Bradford will finally have all the right pieces around him to be successful. I’d rather risk some coin to keep Amendola, than risk continuing the playoff drought relying on Titus Young.
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