– With free agency about 24 hours away from officially getting underway, the Rams took care of some more housecleaning items on Monday as they officially released S Quintin Mikell and re-signed DT Jermelle Cudjo to a two-year contract.
– Mikell’s release comes as no surprise considering he carried with him a $9 million price tag this season. Although Mikell played well as the team’s strong safety last season, that price proved too steep to carry as free agency begins.
– The release of Mikell opens up $3 million in cap space and gives the Rams in the $13-14 million range in cap space and gives them enough flexibility to be active when the market opens at 3 p.m. CST Tuesday.
– Retaining Cudjo might not move the needle much but it’s a quality signing of a player that has proved to be solid depth and still retains quite a bit of upside, particularly under outstanding DL coach Mike Waufle. Cudjo was scheduled to be a restricted free agent. Rather than offering him a tender, the team signed him for two years to ensure he’ll be around beyond this year.
– Cudjo worked mostly as the team’s third tackle in 2012, finishing with 39 tackles, a sack, three QB pressures and three QB hits in 15 games after missing the 2011 season with a back injury.
– Now, the Rams can turn their attention to free agency. So let’s do a bit of a reset of needs the Rams have going into the offseason.
– As of now, they have openings (I define opening as no incumbent starter at the position signed and on the roster going into FA) at RT, LG, FS, SS, SLB and WR. That doesn’t include slot WR and the key backups on the interior of the offensive line and on the defensive line.
– With the available money, expect the Rams to be pretty active as free agency opens. We’ve thrown out names in each of our free agent preview series so I’d refer you all to those for more but look for the Rams to fill at least a couple of those spots this week as the market opens up. Namely, the depth of this free agent class that lines up with the Rams needs appear mostly on the offensive line and at safety.
– As for receiver, the Rams have some options in addition to trying to bring Danny Amendola back. Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace are the top options expected to be available though Wallace is expected to land in Miami.
– Plenty of action on the way in the coming days. Stay tuned, Rams fans.
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