The St. Louis Rams were never going to use the franchise tag on impending free agent offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, but it’s clear that he is their top priority to re-sign this offseason. Saffold is a solid starting tackle in this league, but the Rams need him more at guard with Shelley Smith also set to hit free agency and Harvey Dahl a potential cap casualty. Star left tackle Jake Long and the underrated Joe Barksdale have tackle locked up, but guard would be a problem spot if the Rams cannot re-sign Saffold, whose ability to play at a pretty high level at tackle is also important.
A league source tells Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio that talks between Saffold and the Rams “are expected to intensify” this week, and it will be interesting to see if a long-term agreement can be reached. The Rams have until the 8th to exclusively negotiate with the 25-year-old, and he will officially hit the free agent market on the 11th. It’s clear to me that Les Snead and the Rams are aggressively going after him, but he might be too rich for their pockets, especially since he stated last offseason that he believes he’s a left tackle and will want to be paid like one. Barksdale’s emergence last season from a no-name to a solid starter during Saffold’s injury complicates things, but there’s still a chance that the Rams can lock him up.
The good news is that it sounds like Saffold would be fine with playing at guard, as the former second-round pick seems to only despite starting at right tackle.