St. Louis Rams tackle Rodger Saffold (76) blocks San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith (99) during the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers and the Rams tied 24-24. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams starting Rodger Saffold at guard

St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Rodger Saffold finds himself in a contract year, which is something he was initially disgruntled about in the offseason. To his credit, Saffold showed a lot of class by not holding out of workouts or anything, but it’s clear that Saffold wants to be paid like a left tackle instead of a right one. But with Jake Long in the fold after the Rams big decision to sign him this offseason, Saffold was never going to get that kind of pay. Backup Joe Barksdale played so well in Saffold’s absence that Barksdale looks like the Rams right tackle of the future, and he’s a much cheaper one at that. In fact, it definitely isn’t inconceivable to think that Barksdale is actually a better player than Saffold right now, but the jury’s still out on that one.

Anyway, Saffold is pretty much auditioning for a new contract (specifically, left tackle money) right now, and he’ll get to showcase his versatility. According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Nick Wagoner, the St. Louis Rams will turn to Rodger Saffold as their starting right guard with steady veteran Harvey Dahl out this week. Shelley Smith clearly isn’t the best option, and the Rams are thus hoping that Saffold can show off his versatility and team up with Barksdale to create a solid right side of the line for the Rams today against the Indianapolis Colts.

Saffold is doing whatever he can to help the Rams win as a true team player, and hopefully he can do a credible job for this team on the inside. Plus, it could give him a nice boost in the spring, if you catch my drift. He’s putting in a lot of extra work to transition to guard in Dahl’s absence, because it’s a position that Saffold isn’t familiar with. But Saffold could potentially be a star at guard, so this is definitely a situation to watch for closely. There have been times when a move to guard for Saffold was mulled, but I have a feeling that Saffold would absolutely hate to play anywhere other than tackle (or, at least, only receive a guard’s paycheck).

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Tags: Harvey Dahl Joe Barksdale Rodger Saffold St. Louis Rams

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