Exploring Tre Mason's drop in value after Rams' offseason moves

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Over at Grantland.com, NFL writer Bill Barnwell offered up a list of five players who benefited from his team's offseason moves and five players who should expect a drop off after an offseason of roster shuffling.

St. Louis Rams running back Tre Mason is one of the players to pop up in the piece and, as you'd expect, he comes in on the side of players expected to have his production take a hit.

Mason won the starting running back job about a quarter of the way through last season and had some moments of brilliance, including a 164-yard, three-touchdown outburst against the Oakland Raiders in Week 13. He finished the season as the team's leading rusher with 765 yards on 179 carries as he officially displaced Zac Stacy as the permanent starter.

Despite that, Mason figures to follow in Stacy's footsteps after leading the team in rushing as a rookie then losing his job to a new draft pick the following year. That's because the Rams used the No. 10 overall pick on running back Todd Gurley and have made clear their plans to build the offense around him.

While Gurley continues to recover from a torn ACL, Mason figures to get the bulk of the work with the first team offense. But there's no doubt that Mason's production will take a hit upon Gurley's return. Such is life as a running back in the NFL in 2015.


A roundup of the weekend's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In Friday's Ram-blings, Field Yates ranked Gurley as one of the top 10 running backs of the future. ... Rams left tackle Greg Robinson is expecting big improvement in 2015. ... Coach Jeff Fisher is pleased with defensive tackle Nick Fairley's conditioning. ... Quarterback Case Keenum took a wild road back to St. Louis and now hopes to win the backup job in his second stint in St. Louis. ... The Rams finally signed their remaining eight draft picks. ... In Saturday's mailbag, we discussed whether coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead are on the hot seat entering the season. ... Sunday's mailbag finished with the weekend with a look at what quarterback Nick Foles might command in his next contract.


ESPN NFL Insider columnist Mike Sando offers five reasonsInsider why the San Francisco 49ers won't drop off as much as many expect.

Defensive end Michael Sam is back in the news after leaving the Montreal Alouettes for personal reasons.

At 101sports.com, D'Marco Farr discusses the need for the young Rams offensive linemen to take a step forward sooner than later.

At stltoday.com, Joe Strauss profiles the man with the biggest job on the Rams staff: offensive line coach Paul Boudreau.

Jim Thomas writes that defensive tackle Michael Brockers is working on some new tricks to improve in 2015.