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With Bartell aboard, Rams need strong safety

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams' contract agreement with cornerback Ron Bartell ends a suspenseful few days for both parties. The Rams wanted to keep Bartell without overpaying. Bartell wanted to maximize his value as an ascending young player.

The four-year, $28 million agreement allows Bartell to claim a $7 million average, while the Rams get to keep their best young corner.

The Rams legitimately feared the cornerback market might sweep up Bartell and leave the team with few promising prospects at the position. That's why the team must be happy with this outcome.

The chart breaks down the Rams' current defensive backs, with unrestricted free agents in lighter font. The Rams still could use a strong safety to replace Corey Chavous. They have spoken with James Butler. A handful of other strong safeties remain unsigned.

With significant money invested in Bartell and franchise player Oshiomogho Atogwe, the Rams might become more selective in filling out their secondary.