Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Free Agency: Day One Recap, Rams Sign CB Cortland Finnegan

The St. Louis Rams began free agency by instantly casting out multiple lines, but they failed to hook anything in the early hours.

The initial rumors focused on wide receiver options, such as Pierre Garcon (Indianapolis Colts) and Robert Meachem (New Orleans Saints), as well as Atlanta's Harry Douglas.

While most of the rumors involved receivers, there was also talk regarding cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Carlos Rogers (San Francisco 49ers), tackle Eric Winston (Houston Texans), defensive tackle Jason Jones (Tennessee Titans), safety Jarrett Bush (Green Bay Packers) and even quarterback Jason Campbell (Oakland Raiders).

Meachem, Porter, Winston, Jones and Bush remain unsigned.

However, as the sun began to set on the first day of free agency, frustration grew among the Rams fans after multiple "players of interest" were finding new homes, while no new faces were signing with St. Louis.

It was beginning to look like the Rams would conclude the first full day of free agency without any major additions, but around 8:30 PM (CST) it was reported that the Rams signed cornerback Cortland Finnegan to a five-year, $50 million contract.

Finnegan was an All-Pro in 2008 and will immediately start for the Rams, who were particularly desperate at the position after cutting veteran Ron Bartell on Monday.

The Rams had 10 total cornerbacks sent to injury reserve last season, so it's reassuring that the team now has Finnegan, who has started in 77 of his last 80 possible games.

Finnegan is the only signing today (Tuesday), but there are still several hours remaining in the day, which may allow for another signing or two before the day's end.

Of the previously mentioned free agents, defensive tackle Jones (Titans) is thought of as maybe the most likely to sign a deal with St. Louis. Rams beat writer Jim Thomas even suggested on Twitter that a deal could be done before Wednesday:

Jim Thomas‏ @jthom1:

"Deal with another Titan, defensive lineman Jason Jones, could also get done tonight by Rams."

Jones played three seasons under coach Jeff Fisher at defensive tackle and was thought of as a rising star. However, he was switched to defensive end last season and experienced a slight regression.

Fisher will presumably allow Jones to return to defensive tackle, which is where he has seen more success.

Also, offensive tackle Winston (Texans) has scheduled a visit with the Rams, which makes him a realistic option. Although, he has set up meetings with the Chiefs and Dolphins as well.

In the end, even if there are no more players brought in, it was still a very active first day with the signing of Finnegan.

It took a $50 million contract to finally seal the deal with a player, but that's to be expected when a team finishes with a 2-14 record.

There will undoubtedly be more signings in the upcoming days, but Finnegan will surely remain the biggest splash for the Rams in this year's free agency class.

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