With the release of wide receiver Torry Holt, the St. Louis Rams continue to purge their roster of veteran players. Holt follows fellow veterans Orlando Pace, Trent Green, Drew Bennett, Corey Chavous, Anthony Becht and Brett Romberg out the door.
The moves are a deliberate attempt by the new general manager and head coach tandem of Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo to increase the team’s salary cap flexibility while at the same time creating opportunities for younger players on the roster.
Reports indicate the Rams gained roughly $14-million in salary space with the departures of Holt and Pace. Look for the team to use that extra room for mid-level free agent signings and to sign the team’s draft picks.
Fantasy Football Impact
For the Rams, Holt’s release thrusts Donnie Avery into the role as the team’s number one receiver. The first wide receiver taken in last year’s draft, Avery displayed a knack for making big plays but also committed numerous rookie mistakes by running poor routes, missing hot reads and running the wrong way. He is clearly a talented player but will need help at the other wide receiver position. Simpy put, if defenses game plan to shut him down, they will be successful. Keenan Burton (last year’s 4th round pick) and Derek Stanley are currently the top candidates to start opposite Avery but the position will be addressed in the draft and possibly with a veteran player. The Seahawks Bobby Engram would fit in nicely in St. Louis as a veteran mentor and slot receiver.
Look for Holt to find a new home and a good opportunity in short order. Other than former Ram teammate Isaac Bruce, Holt has to be considered among the least tempermental star receivers in the league over the last decade. He dropped from being a perennial top ten fantasy wide receiver last year but that was more a result of fewer opportunities, playing in a poor offense with an underperforming quarterback and, perhaps even he would admit, a lack of motivation. Nonetheless, although he has clearly lost a step in terms of deep speed, stories of his demise are greatly exaggerated. His yards per catch has dropped every year since 2004 but was still a respectable 12.4 in 2008. By comparison, T.J. Houshmanzadeh’s was 9.8 this year. It says here that Holt still has the ability to be a productive number two wide receiver on a good team. Contending teams needing help at wide receiver include the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Jets, Titans and maybe the Ravens if they decide not to meet Derrick Mason’s renegotiation demands.