Rams finalizing deal with OG Davin Joseph

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In search of some veteran depth for their offensive line, the St. Louis Rams are in the process of finalizing a one-year deal with guard Davin Joseph.

Joseph originally visited with the Rams in mid-March as a potential solution for the expected departure of Rodger Saffold. When Saffold's deal with Oakland fell through and the Rams re-signed him to a lucrative deal, interest in Joseph was put on the back burner.

Through that time, the Rams remained open to adding a veteran for the interior, but clearly wanted to see what the draft would yield before adding a veteran inside. They also had expressed interest in Daryn Colledge and mentioned a possible return for Harvey Dahl along the way.

When the Rams came out of the draft with tackle Greg Robinson but didn't draft any more linemen until the seventh round, the need for some experience on the interior became more obvious.

Joseph comes to St. Louis from Tampa Bay, where he went to two Pro Bowls for the Bucs before injuries sidetracked his career. He was a first-round pick in 2006, earning trips to Hawaii in 2008 and 2011. But he suffered a severe knee injury that cost him the 2012 season, and he struggled to get back to his former production last season.

The Bucs released Joseph before free agency in March, saving $6 million against the salary cap. In addition to his visit to St. Louis, Joseph also made stops in New England and Dallas.

For the Rams, the expectation is that Joseph will provide depth behind projected starting guards Robinson and Saffold. Joseph also provides insurance in case left tackle Jake Long is unable to start the season. Long suffered a torn ACL and MCL against Joseph's former team late in the season.

As Long continues his rehabilitation, Joseph, who has played in 100 games (including playoffs), offers an experienced replacement inside who would allow the Rams to shift Robinson or Saffold outside until Long is ready.