Wanted to throw another one out there, this time with alittle extra Les Snead flair on it.
CUT Mark Barron LB - $7m 2018 Cap savings
I think this is still coming, but nothing triggers more guaranteed dollars, so hang onto him until we are sure we have the replacement. This is likely where the money for our Draft picks will come from.
EXTEND Rodger Saffold OL - 4 years $22.5m ($3.5m 2018 Cap Savings)
I dont like that we basically have 4 starting Linemen that will be looking at hitting Free Agency after this year. And for sure all 5 of them in the next 2 years. (hint hint) So locking up a guy who should still, at the very least, be a solid/steady veteran is a smart move. Plus we free up alittle more cap space for this year to push toward Donalds deal.
EXTEND Aaron Donald DL - 7 years $140m (Extra $15m 2018 Cap hit)
Time to get the man Paid, we have some leftover money to spend in 2018, lets start this going and it will smooth out his cap hits for 2019-2021 before he is looking for a new deal once again.
RE-SIGN Connor Barwin LB - 1 year $1.25m ( $1.25m 2018 Cap hit)
I still think he is coming back. I think we were just wanting to see if any of the other options (who are probably upgrades) were reasonable and interested in coming here. So far doesnt look like it. Some of those guys got stupid money (Murphy) so we probably let this secondary market reset the expectations, and get him back in here to team up with Longacre, Ebukam and whoever else we add via the draft.
SIGN Ndamukong Suh DL - 2 years $35m ( $15m 2018 Cap hit)
I think this will end up being a short term deal for Suh. He probably has one big contract left, but he is also working with a limited market place this year. I think the appeal of getting back into the market either next offseason or the one after would be even more appealing than a 5 year deal he has to bargain between like 3/4 legitimate teams. This deal would be a $10m signing bonus with the $10m base salary this year guaranteed. And next year would be a player option to guarantee his $15m base salary for 2019 if he exercises it. Or he can walk out into a full market after one season.
SIGN Brian Cushing LB - 2 years $8m ( $2.5m 2018 Cap hit)
While I actually think Littleton will have a bigger role than most of us here expect, I think having one veteran in the middle of the defense is desirable for Wade. Most of his guys Wade would have liked to have brought in have been overpaid this offseason, so he makes due with a guy who used to be extremely talented. Cushing still has a bit left in the tank, but now has his limitations. This is a 1 year deal in reality, and we will pay him $1-$1.5 when we cut him next year, but he would be a really solid bridge guy as we bring some younger guys into the fold.
2018 NFL Draft
TRADE: Rams send pick #23+4th to Cleveland for #33+#64+2019 5th
I still think the Browns might be duping everyone, and they dont come out of Picks 1 & 4 with a QB. So they are still needing that future guy to sit behind Tyrod for a minute. We are sitting in the sweet spot for teams to jump up and get that guy. Im banking on the Browns having a great draft this year finally (I actually really liked what they did last year) and they come up to get Baker.
TRADE: Rams send pick #33+#87 to Arizona for #47+#79+2019 2nd
I see an unfortunate drop for Lamar Jackson. I like him and he is going to be a nice QB, but I could see an eerily similar draft day to Teddy Bridgewater for him. But the Cards need a guy, and even though they are a Division rival, the Draft picks are worth letting them make the move (because we arent taking him). So we drop back a bit in the 2nd as most of the guys left are equal in our eyes, plus we move up in the 3rd, and ofcourse the key to this deal; a nice future 2nd rounder to replace our original.
R2: #47 Tim Settle NT Virgina Tech
After the handful of guys who are really worth us going after come off the board early in round 1 (Edmunds, Vea, Davenport, Payne. etc.) we focus in on Settle being or guy to come out of the Top 50 picks with. After dropping down to #33 we see that many of these other more traditional DTs are still on the board so we feel safe dropping again. I know we picked up Suh, and he will be the starter for this year, he is a short term guy, and honestly we need 5-6 really good Lineman to make this system work. So going with the 3 All-Pro types as starters, we could have a really nice second group revolving around Settle as the more true NT (who still is more than just a 1 gap plugger). He is just one of those guys that make you say "Humans that size shouldnt be able to move that well", and Ill take as many of those guys as I can get.
R2: #64 Martinas Rankin OL Mississippi St
I hinted that I am worried about the future state of the OL. I think Rankin is my favorite OL prospect in some years. His size, IQ, Footwork, Technique and Versatility make me drool. He is not really a Tackle in the NFL, but he could spot start if needed, you would just have to protect him, but on the inside he could be a darn good player. I dont really see a potential All-Pro in there, but I do see a 10 year starter. Which might be more valuable at this point to anchor our OL for our Franchise QB. And when it comes down to it, I see Rankin's best spot at Center, especially in this OL system. I would expect Rankin to be the 6th Lineman this year, covering where he is needed. Then next year he would be a starter, depending on how Sullivan is holding up he could cover the RG spot or already take over at Center, then be our Center moving forward. This line will be in transition over the next couple of years, doing it one piece at a time is the way to do it rather than a set of wholesale changes.
TRADE: Rams send pick #79+6th Rounder to Miami for #73
We have all those 6th rounders, so we will probably be moving around with some of them. But the more I think about it, we will need to use some as well. (we need to bolster this roster) But throwing a few around to make sure we get our guys is likely to happen with Les. We know that we are looking at Edge rushers, just makes sense. and I think we are OK with a handful of these guys on Day 2. Hubbard and Carter go early in the 2nd, and then Key finally gets snatched up at the end of round 2. So as we see a run on Edge guys start; Armstong, OG-OK, and Holland go in quick succession, its time to move up and grab the guy we want.
R3: #73 Josh Sweat EDGE Florida St
Some have pushed Sweat as high as a Top 30 player in their rankings. I have him in the 75 range in a bundle with all those other Edge guys. I think he may have some of the most potential, but I also think he has the most concerns. Yes the medical will always cause me to pause with Sweat, although he seems good to go right now. But the biggest thing that holds him back from the rest of that group is he is currently a one dimensional player. Now he is darn good at that pass rushing skill, and bends the edge really well when he wants to, but as a complete player he leaves alot to be desired. It seems to be more of an attitude thing than an ability thing, which could be worrisome, but thats why he is a 3rd round pick. I see him occupying the same type of role that Quinn was in this defense right away, but I do believe he could grow into that complete player. I say hes worth the risk here, because at the least, he is a rotational rusher who could possibly put up 8-9-10 sacks in sub packages if he only peaks as a pass rusher.
R4: #111 Hercules Mata'afa LB Washington St
I started this conversation in another thread, and the more I watch him the more I am convinced that Hercules' best spot is as a 34 ILB. All his best sills and most importantly instincts translate best there, rather than moving him our to the edge. He can help stuff up front as well as rush from the middle. No mater where he lines up it will be an adjustment, because he just cant play DT anymore. If you have him out on the Edge, he can survive, but I think he ends up as JAG. But if you bring him inside of a 34 front, help cover up his lack of burst and highlights his quickness and ability to sort through the mess to find and attack the ball. I had this similar thought with Ryan Anderson last year (thx @jrry32), and still think Im correct on that one too.
R6: #176 Toby Weathersby OL LSU
I know this isnt a flashy name to really anyone, and the Senat's, Cappa's, Harrison's and Parker's of this draft really get guys drooling in their Mocks. But those guys are lottery tickets to me. One of them is going to hit, and the rest likely wont have any impact at all. Plus they are all going to be over-drafted because of it. I agree that we do need to find a future LT at some point, but I dont think we need to force one this year. But I am very bullish on bolstering the OL, especially its depth, right now. Weathersby is built like your ideal NFL Lineman, like most LSU guys are, and definately plays that way. Well balanced, and what I like described best as "athletic enough". He doesnt do anything at an "Elite" level, but does everything well enough. He has the tools to improve all of those skills, but is likely capped at above average. Which honestly I am completely OK with. We need a good swing tackle these days, and he looks comfortable on either side. With a resigning and a couple of draft picks we suddenly are very deep along the line in addition to a few guys that will stick around.
R6: #183 Jack Cichy LB Wisconsin
Many of you have been all over Jack, and I have been eyeing him up for awhile. But man does that medical scare me. If he is still sitting here when we get to our glutton of 6th rounders, then absolutely lets take a chance. He would be a good addition to this budding LB Corps that we are building, but would have to work to get some snaps right away. He has that talent, but its hard to trust that he could always be out there. I would love to get that production out of him while we can though. Maybe behind Settle/Brockers he could hold up alittle better.
R6: #194 Tray Matthews S Auburn
Ill say it again, I just love Tray, he is just a football guy you want on your team (got a few of those guys in this draft). I think he is going to be very limited in the NFL, he just doesnt have the top speed or coverage skills to be a splash guy. But as a Special Teamer, a backup SS, and even possibly some coverage for a Barron type if you need that in a defensive package, he is a good guy to have. I think fillinf out the roster with "Football Guys" is the new strategy I like. We have hit on alot of high potential guys throughout the roster, so lets make sure their backups have high floors, and the drop off would be mitigated if needed to step in.
TRADE: Rams send pick #195 Rounder to Miami for #227+#229
When you make a move with a GM, its likely that you will keep going back to that well for a while. The one with the Dolphins was pretty fair, so I think a few more with them throughout the draft are likely. Every team always has that one last guy they want, so we swap with MIA so they can get their guy while we have a couple of fliers we want to take at the end of the draft.
R7: #227 Roc Thomas RB Jacksonville St
Oh boy do i like watching Roc. There isnt that much out there of him but that is also one of the pluses to him. He oozes talent, good size, speed, agility. I often really like his vision, but other times I think he is running blind. I think that has more to do with his impatience rather than actual vision. he can juke for days, and his jump cuts make him look like he is a magician at times. He is probably limited to a change of pace back (hey! thats what we need!) in the NFL, but I feel like he could carry a game or two during a season if need be. Never had to give much effort on Pas-Pro, so its a negative but not sure how to grade it, has the size and balance that he should be capable.
R7: #229 D.J. Myers WR Midwestern St
Just kind of a stab in the dark with this pick. We worked him out, he looked good apparently, but there isnt much out there on him. He has good size, decent speed and beat up on low level talent. The one thing I really did like about him was that he usually is a hand catcher. You dont see that all too often in lower levels of football. Thats a good sign, especially if he is also a good route runner. Probably ends up as nothing, but decent attempt at finding a diamond in the rough.