Rams need to make a statement in free agency

Last year, I would have gladly settled for mediocrity from the Rams.

My expectations were at a relatively low level after starting over from a one win season and hinging the outcome of 2010 on a rookie quarterback with injury questions.

Then the team exploded with a 7-9 season and an almost playoff berth built on a stingy defense and the clear emergence of a franchise leader in Sam Bradford.

Despite these strides, the 2011 offseason atmosphere around St. Louis seems to be reverting back to the same mediocre mentality.

St. Louis should be looking for slam dunk, not a lay up as we have seen far too often in the last few years.

The time to make a splash is now in the biggest free agent pool any of us has ever seen.

The poster boy for a big splash: Sidney Rice and the Rams should do everything in their power to get him.

There are rumblings the team will stick with post-injury Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery while hoping to strike gold with the promise Danny Amendola and Danario Alexander showed or the potential of the rookie receivers.

Clayton started out great last season, but was the victim of an injury and has never showed superstar talent. Avery is nothing more than a third receiver that hasn’t inspired any feelings besides regret for me after we chose him over Desean Jackson.

The Rams must also have a short memory because the last game of the season showed just how toothless the offense was and left the team on the outside looking in on the playoff race.

The time is now to take advantage of a weak NFC West and Rice is the perfect player to get the ball rolling.

He is only 25-years-old and broke out in 2009 with 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns and would instantly become the star to lift the rest of the receiving group to a higher level.

Despite an injury shortened year in 2010, he is young and talented enough to become the deep threat the Rams desperately need to pair with Bradford to speed up his development.

Other options include Mathias Kiwanuka or Charles Johnson at defensive end, Eric Weddle or Quintin Mikell at safety, Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush at running back and especially Barry Cofield at defensive tackle.

Any of these guys would be great additions to the Rams puzzle but the point is to get after them in the first place as a free agency player instead of standing on the sidelines.

I’m not saying to go the Washington Redskins route and throw money at any guy with a jersey on, but the Rams are in a place to spend some cash and finally have an owner with the pocket change to do so.

It’s time to throw out the notion of mediocrity and rise to this once in a lifetime free agent occasion.