Rams mailbag: Heading toward free agency

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- We're still a little more than a week from the start of free agency, but teams have already begun slashing players from the roster to create salary-cap space.

As always, you can shoot me questions at any time using hashtag #RamsMail to my Twitter handle @nwagoner. Let's get to it.

@nwagoner: Right now, these are two sides engaged in a game of chicken. I think Sam Bradford is probably more willing to take a pay cut than his agent is, but it's also his agent's job to get him the best deal. There's no firm deadline on when something has to happen. Bradford has a lot of leverage, but the Rams have at least a little because they can theoretically just keep him at his current rate, make other moves to create cap space and go from there. I think when all is said and done, the two sides will be able to work something out. It's what's best for both.

@nwagoner: It's a good question and there could be some change there. I think the Rams would like to have Lance Kendricks back, but I'm not sure that he will be. Scuttle in Indianapolis was that Kendricks could command something in the range of $4 million per season. I'm not sure the Rams would be willing to go to those lengths to make it happen. Cory Harkey is a restricted free agent, but I'd be very surprised if he's not back. With Harkey and Jared Cook back, there could be room for an expanded role for youngsters such as Justice Cunningham and Alex Bayer.

@nwagoner: First, I don't think there's any chance that all three players are available at No. 10. I'd be surprised if more than one was there then, and it wouldn't surprise me if all three were gone. But for the Rams' purposes, I'd prioritize Marcus Mariota of the three. I don't know how he'll work out in the NFL and I wonder about the Rams' ability to develop him, but I think a guy like Chris Weinke really bolsters their ability to maximize him. Honestly, any of those three would be a great pick, in my opinion. The Rams would be lucky to have any of them.

@nwagoner: Well, before Michael Brockers, it was pretty difficult for the Rams. I don't think those types grow on trees because when you are looking at guys that big, it can be hard to find someone with the conditioning and mindset to do such a thankless job over and over again without much glory. But for what it's worth, I fully expect the Rams to use their fifth-year option on Brockers before May, which means he wouldn't be a free agent until 2017. From there, I'd think they'll look to work out something long-term with him. I think they're excited about pairing Brockers and Aaron Donald for the long term.

@nwagoner: Unknowingly, I think you might have answered your own question. Barrett Jones was a warhorse for Alabama, playing all over the line and battling through injury time and again. By the time his career was done, there was no more decorated player in the country. But there was also no player in the country with more wear and tear on his body. He played through a foot injury in the national title game and basically entered the league on a redshirt plan. And then he had another setback last summer in camp. It's fair to wonder if he can be healthy enough to not only play, but gain the strength and build the body he needs to hold up from down to down in the league. It would be unfair to write him off just yet, but this is a big year for him.

@nwagoner: Under normal circumstances, I'd think this isn't much of a possibility because the Rams generally avoid older free agents. But I don't think we can categorically toss this one out for a few reasons. First, the Rams have a need at guard and just a year ago signed Davin Joseph, who was of similar age. But Justin Blalock doesn't have the same injury history as Joseph and has been more productive in recent seasons. Blalock also has a history of playing and playing well under the guidance of Rams offensive line coach Paul Boudreau. I'd tend to think the Rams will look for a younger option to fill their need at guard, but if they decide that an older veteran might serve as a solid placeholder, a guy like Blalock would make a lot of sense. Some of this could also depend on how fast Blalock moves to get a new deal. One would think the Rams wouldn't move really fast on an older veteran.