Although the dialogue continues between the Rams and the agents representing offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, it’s becoming evident that Saffold will not be re-signed by the start of free agency on Tuesday. In fact, one of those agents — Alan Herman — flatly stated that will be the case.
“Rodger definitely will be out in the free-agent market,” Herman told the Post-Dispatch.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and Tuesday. And the Rams could provide millions of reasons for Saffold and his representatives to change their minds before then.
“We had a good conversation with Rodger’s representatives at the (scouting) combine,” Rams executive vice president Kevin Demoff said. “They said all the right things. As Jeff (Fisher) and Les (Snead) said in their interviews, re-signing Rodger is a priority. There’s good dialogue going on.”
Fisher is the Rams’ coach and Snead their general manager.
The parties had talks again this week, and they will talk over the weekend.
“I’m always a believer that at this point it’s more likely than not that a player gets to free agency once they’ve come this far,” Demoff said. “They want to peek behind the curtain.
“My hope is that’s not case. But Rodger has good representatives. They do a good job. We have a good relationship with them. If there’s a deal that comes together, I know we’ll figure it out.
“If there’s not, then he’ll go to free agency and by no means is that the end of this conversation. Hopefully, once it’s there we’ll have an opportunity to figure it out and keep him as a Ram.”
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As an example, Demoff cited the case of cornerback Ron Bartell, who briefly reached the free-agent market in 2009. He was strongly pursued by New Orleans but opted to re-sign with the Rams.
“I have high hopes (on Saffold returning), but he’s a talented player, and when you get to this point talented players are in demand,” Demoff said.
“We are having good conversations and hopefully those conversations will wind up with Rodger returning in a Rams uniform. But there’s still plenty of time to see how that story plays out.”
Complicating matters with Saffold is the fact that he’s drawing interest both at tackle and guard. Good tackles generally make more money than good guards.
It’s clear the Rams are more interested in Saffold at guard, although if he re-signs he could open the season at left tackle if Jake Long isn’t ready following knee surgery last January. Some in the industry believe Saffold’s next contract — wherever it is — will come in excess of $6 million per year.