Rodger Saffold Agrees to Five-Year Contract With Rams

Posted Mar 13, 2014

Rodger Saffold is set to return to St. Louis after agreeing to a new five-year contract through 2019.

Rams General Manager, Les Snead, stated that the Rams’ top priority entering the offseason would be reaching an agreement with G/T Rodger Saffold. At least initially, that goal seemed out of reach.

Though the pathway back to St. Louis included an unexpected detour, Saffold has returned to the Rams. The deal came after first agreeing in principle to a five-year contract with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday, and having that contract nullified by a failed physical.

The Rams wasted no time in making an offer to bring Saffold back to St. Louis, as he agreed to a five-year contract with St. Louis on Wednesday. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

In Saffold, the Rams regain a vital piece of an offensive line that had seen its numbers dwindle in recent days. Guard Chris Williams signed a four-year, $13.5 million deal with Buffalo on Wednesday, and fellow guard Shelley Smith spent Wednesday meeting with the New York Giants, but remains unsigned. Harvey Dahl, who served as the Rams’ starting right guard for the past two seasons, was also released this week.

While addressing the media last month at the NFL Combine, Snead said the Rams initiated conversations with Saffold’s camp soon after the conclusion of the season. The relationship between the parties seemed to contribute to Saffold’s quick return when the agreement with Oakland fell through.

“He’s definitely somebody that is a priority, and that’s a little bit about what the Combine is, is sitting down with some of the agents of your players and trying to work through something,” Snead said.

“He’s definitely a priority this offseason for us and like those situations, it’ll run its course and we’ll know.”

Now that the situation has run its course—winding and unpredictable as it may have been—the Rams have effectively stemmed the tide of last year’s offensive line departing via free agency, and are now in position to have up to four of their five spots filled along the offensive line entering the draft.

Saffold likely projects as a starter at one of the guard positions in 2014, a position he had no previous NFL experience in through his first three NFL seasons. Saffold made the move from right tackle to right guard in Week 8 in Indianapolis, and in turn became a key member of the Rams’ running attack through the second half of the season. That performance led the Rams’ brass to see his NFL future to be the brightest within the interior of the line.

“I think ultimately, he’s going to be an outstanding guard in this league,” Head Coach Jeff Fisher said while at the NFL Combine last month. “That’s not to say he couldn’t play tackle, because he did this year. He played some really good football as a tackle.”

Originally drafted as a left tackle, Saffold’s versatility played a significant role in the Rams’ interest in bringing back the four-year veteran entering this offseason. With LT Jake Long sidelined with a torn ACL in the final home game of the season, Saffold returned to his old position for the regular season finale.

“I’ve learned from people wiser than me that being versatile like that, to be able to play both guards and tackle, that’s a nice asset to have,” Snead said.

Though Saffold’s road back to St. Louis was in some ways unpredictable, the agreement has the Rams’ top offseason priority back in the fold for 2014 and beyond.