EARTH CITY, Mo. -- We're moving closer to the start of the new league year and, along with it, the start of free agency. Which means over the next few weeks, the Los Angeles Rams will be taking a long look at the players already on the roster and determining whether they're worth their projected salary-cap numbers.
Some teams have already begun the process of releasing high-priced veterans to create salary-cap room. So this week, we'll take a look at some players who will come under the microscope for the Rams. (All contract numbers courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info.)
Player: OL Rodger Saffold
Contract status: Signed through 2018.
2016 cap hit: $5.875 million (Base salary becomes guaranteed on third day of league year)
Potential savings: $3.775 million
Why he could go: Put simply, Saffold has rarely been able to stay healthy in his six seasons in the NFL. He missed 11 games in 2015 after suffering yet another right shoulder injury and undergoing surgery to have it fixed. While Saffold managed to play all 16 games in 2014 (one of only two years he's done it), he had surgery on his left shoulder after that season. Beyond the shoulder issues, Saffold has also dealt with various other ailments throughout his career. While Saffold's price tag might not be too cumbersome, it could be considered too much for a player who hasn't proved capable of staying healthy consistently for long stretches.
Why he could stay: As it stands, Saffold still remains the most experienced offensive lineman on the Rams. The team chose to go with a youth movement on the line last year but could still use someone to help guide their young linemen. Now that both of Saffold's shoulders have been repaired, the hope is that he can stay healthy moving forward and he's only 27, which offers hope that if he could finally stay healthy and settle in at guard that he could be the team's best lineman. Perhaps more than any of that, having Saffold's versatility might be more important than ever. Given left tackle Greg Robinson's struggles, having Saffold as insurance for that position could be worth the price, even if it's more than they'd want to pay for a starting guard/backup tackle. If nothing else, keeping Saffold around for another year buys the Rams more time to develop youngsters like Cody Wichmann, Andrew Donnal and Isaiah Battle, not to mention Robinson.