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How could Rams deal with potentially losing Saffold in free agency? 

When free agency opens on March 13, there's a real possibility that one longtime Ram could be joining another franchise.

Left guard Rodger Saffold has been a part of the Rams organization since he was selected at the No. 33 overall pick back in 2010 out of Indiana. The last time he was a free agent, it seemed like he was headed to Oakland. But that changed and Saffold instead remained a Ram on a five-year contract.

Check out the top photos of the Los Angeles Rams offensive line and quarterbacks from the 2018 season.

Now that deal is done, and while the Rams are certainly interested in retaining Saffold's services headed into 2019, there's an understanding about the realities of the business side of the NFL.

Plus, as general manager Les Snead illustrated last week, Los Angeles' salary cap situation in 2018 is different from what it was last year.

"Going back to last year, there's a lot of guys that were unselfish as we were waiting on Aaron to sign. Some of our extensions — Brandin Cooks. Rob Havenstein, Todd Gurley, and they deferred some of their cash into this year," Snead said at the NFL Combine last week. "So it does make this year's calculus equation different."

That could affect Saffold, who according to many NFL analysts has a chance to become one of the league's highest-paid guards.

But given how long Saffold has been with the team, Snead admitted there is an emotional aspect of wanting to keep the currently longest-tenured Ram in Los Angeles.

"There's an element, right, of football is not just a business, and it's probably not family either because there is a business side to it, but there is some mixture of in-between there," Snead said. "I mean, Rodger was a Ram before I got here. So to come in … and see him evolve and become one of the better guards in the league… You know, I've told Rodger, I wish he would have gotten an All-Pro along the way, because I think he actually deserved it, and I know it's hard to break through for those guys, especially offensive linemen.

"So you definitely have those ties, but at the end of the day, whether a player stays or goes, there's always a handshake," Snead continued. "The great thing about football is, maybe not 10 days, maybe not 10 weeks from now, but usually 10 years from now, we'll hug, shake hands, because there is a camaraderie there. I ran into Benny Cunningham at the mall next to our team hotel in Atlanta, and the first thing he did was come over and hug, because Benny started here. Didn't finish here, but it's that bond."

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