PHOENIX -- Perhaps the St. Louis Rams haven't showed the urgency that many would like when it comes to their holes on the offensive line, but that doesn't mean they aren't aware of what needs to be done over the next few weeks.
"Yeah, there's still some spots available, if you will," coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday morning.
That's putting it mildly. As it stands, the Rams have just three offensive linemen -- left tackle Greg Robinson, guard Rodger Saffold and swingman Garrett Reynolds -- with any meaningful NFL game experience. And even out of those three, Robinson is entering his second year with plenty of work to do, Saffold has a lengthy injury history and is coming off surgery and Reynolds was brought in to provide depth.
So the Rams have room for starters at one guard spot, right tackle and center. There are some obvious and known solutions for the Rams that still remain on the free-agent market and Fisher hinted that business could pick back up after this week's owners meetings.
Heading up that list is right tackle Joe Barksdale. Fisher said discussions with Barksdale are on-going and he remains hopeful that something can get worked out. Barksdale was recently married and has been on his honeymoon so there might not have been a lot of urgency to get a deal done but Fisher pointed to prices early on that clearly exceeded what the Rams or any other team was willing to meet.
"I was a little surprised at their asking price initially," Fisher said. "I think things have settled down a little bit. We'd like to have Joe back. Joe played well at times, he had some outstanding games. He had some difficult matchups as well. But Joe knows us ... and I think it makes sense to get Joe back."
That coincides with what we heard in February when various league types estimated prices for Barksdale anywhere from as low as $4 million per year all the way up to $7 million per year. If that price was indeed on the high end, it's not much of a surprise that Barksdale is still available.
The same could probably be said for other free-agent options the Rams are still considering. Guard Justin Blalock and center Stefan Wisniewski remain available and the Rams have expressed at least some interest in both players. It's unlikely the Rams have the cap space or the inclination to sign all three but they could find a way to make two work if they wanted.
"There's still several free agents out there that we're in discussions with but we're looking toward the draft," Fisher said. "It's not one of those things we're going to panic about particularly because of who we've got lined up."
Fisher called this year's draft "outstanding" as far as the offensive line is concerned which might also offer another clue as to why they have not been in a rush to sign players that might exceed where they have them valued.
There are also some younger in-house options who could be in the mix though the Rams' confidence in those players might only be as real as how easily they can find an upgrade elsewhere.
At center, in particular, Fisher again offered an endorsement of sorts for Barrett Jones and Demetrius Rhaney. Jones has played a total of 22 snaps on offense in his first two seasons in the league and Rhaney sat out his rookie year after a knee injury in training camp.
"Barrett showed that he can play and we have confidence in Demetrius Rhaney," Fisher said. "We have Greg and Rodg. We've added Garrett so we've got depth and we're kind of excited about what direction we're headed."
Still, it would come as a surprise and be a major step in the wrong direction if the Rams don't add a legitimate starter or two on the offensive line before the draft.
"Well, it's either money or ideal fit," Fisher said. "There are some players out there that still have value at a number of positions. Once we get back from the meetings then things pick up."