Rams coach Jeff Fisher remains confident that Rodger Saffold’s dissatisfaction with a move to right tackle will be resolved.
“Things are gonna work out,” Fisher said. “We’re confident they’ll get resolved.”
At the same time, Fisher pointed out that no one in the organization has been able to reach Saffold since the team’s new left tackle, Jake Long, agreed to terms on his four-year, $34 million contract nearly two weeks ago.
“We’ve been trying to reach Rodger, and he’s not returning calls right now,” Fisher said. “But we’ll get things settled, and Rodger’s a big part of our future and a big part of our plans on offense.”
One of Saffold’s agents, Alan Herman, said Saffold would be unhappy with a switch to right tackle when it became known that Long was making a free-agent visit to St. Louis on March 13.
But Herman stopped short of requesting a trade if Long was signed, and Saffold has been quiet on the subject. Similarly, Herman has not commented since then.
When asked Thursday if Saffold had requested a trade, Fisher replied, “No. It’s just been quiet. And we’re trying to reach Rodger just like we’re trying to reach all of our other players. We stay in touch with our players. Maybe he’s traveling and is on his way back.”
A second-round draft pick in 2010, Saffold’s contract expires after the 2013 season.
At the moment, the Rams’ starting offensive line features Long at left tackle, Scott Wells at center, Harvey Dahl at right guard, and Saffold at right tackle. The only position up for grabs is left guard, where Shelley Smith and Rokevious Watkins currently are the leading candidates to start.
Otherwise it’s a veteran line that includes two past Pro Bowlers in Long and Wells.
Interestingly, general manager Les Snead said the addition of Long wouldn’t necessarily prevent the Rams from taking an offensive tackle high in the draft.
“If you liked (a certain) tackle before we signed Jake, and that’s one of the better players on the board, you probably ask yourself, ‘Hey, can he play guard?’ ” Snead said. “And then eventually you move (him) to tackle like a lot of guys have done.”
One potential draft pick that comes to mind in such a role: Alabama’s D.J. Fluker.
The signing of Long, Snead continued, “may lessen the — I call it urgency, or desperation — but it wouldn’t preclude you from taking a tackle.”
FISHER ON JOHNSON
Asked about the DUI arrest last week of cornerback Trumaine Johnson in Missoula, Montana, Fisher replied: “Can’t comment. We’re still getting information. We’ll let the legal system play itself out.”
When asked if Johnson’s arrest affects how the team views taking a cornerback in the draft, Fisher said: “No, it doesn’t. He’ll be back in for the offseason program. We’ll sit down and discuss it, and find out where he’s at.”
NOT DONE WITH FREE AGENCY?
With a little over $1 million of salary cap space remaining, the Rams could be reduced to pursuing minimum salary veterans from here on out in free agency.
“We’ve got some good discussions going on now, as far as two or three of the players we’re talking to,” Fisher said.
When all is said and done, Fisher said the Rams may have to restructure a contract or two to create cap space.
“There may be a couple here,” Fisher said. “But we’ve got the ability (to restructure). We’ve got the support from our owner. And we’re still going to move through it. There are still some players out there that we feel are role players for us that can help us and we’re talking with.”
Fisher believes some talented players remain available in free agency.
“There are,” he said. “It’s a good group of players. Especially on defense. There’s some really good defensive players. Cornerbacks, safeties, as well as defensive linemen.”
INTO THE BUNKER
After attending Southern California’s pro day Wednesday, Snead flew back to St. Louis in time for the Long press conference Thursday afternoon.
“I’m probably done with pro days,” Snead said. “They’re getting close to ending. We’re going to actually start draft meetings next week. There may be a few private (workout) opportunities from here. But I think the pro days are (done). That circuit’s over.”