EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Given the up in the air status of the St. Louis Rams when it comes to their future in the city, it stands to reason that their goal of improving the team through free agency could be made more difficult this year.
But general manager Les Snead and coach Jeff Fisher don't believe that the possibility of the Rams moving to Los Angeles after the 2015 season will have much of an impact on their ability to sign free agents.
“I don’t think that’s going to be an issue," Fisher said. "I really don’t. I went through it before. I went down that path before and we didn’t have any problems with uncertainty because that’s what you’re talking about right now is uncertainty.”
Snead points out that most players on the free-agent market are already going to be going through a move if they choose to go elsewhere and many players don't set up a permanent home in the NFL city in which they play.
"I’m going to say no in that we have gotten to this era of free agency, especially with the window of early negotiation where players aren’t taking visits anymore," Snead said. "So what you’re finding is that money is one and usually it’s who is coaching them next. Players are like anybody. They will do their research with their peers, other peers and they are either going to give a thumbs up or thumbs down on that coach. You’re seeing it with that first wave. Players aren’t taking visits and being wooed like in years past."
Asked about older veterans who might have children and a family and want to buy a house, Snead offered a moment of honesty about the reality of the situation.
"I think with the dynamic going on with that particular player, that would be a good discussion they would have," Snead said. "I betcha they’re not buying a house. Now what you’ll probably find with an NFL player is they’re used to being a transient."
As with most things when it comes to the business of the NFL -- and frankly the reason the Rams might be on the move in the first place -- money trumps all. The old hip hop axiom "Cash Rules Everything Around Me" applies in this context as well with the coaching staff in a given place coming in a distant second.
"That’s usually what you've found," Snead said. "The money has got to be very similar. There’s no hometown discount. There is, but it’s not significant. That’s the way it’s been, you bring them in for the physical and they’ve already agreed. That’s this generation. A facility is a facility. Heck, nowadays when you get drafted and come to the NFL, the facility is a downgrade. That’s when you have the most problem, it’s 'Oh, this is where I’m working.'”
In other words, any success the Rams have in free agency this year will be a direct result of how much money they're willing to spend for a given player. Just like any other year.