Originally written on Rams Herd  |  Last updated 3/13/12
F2

The St Louis Rams moved quickly and aggressively on the first day of free agency for the second year in a row, reportedly signing Cortland Finnegan to a five year deal worth roughly $50 million.

His contract appears to be a deal similar in length and average value to the deal signed by Jonathan Joseph last offseason by the Houston Texans, a good sign. Even though Finnegan is perhaps the top free agent cornerback on the market, he is not in the same class of player as a Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis. Used correctly, as he was last year, he should be a very effective addition to the Rams.

However, while the front office has changed entirely, similarities in their approach are eerily similar. Last year, Billy Devaney made a lightning-fast strike in the secondary, grabbing a player considered one of the very best at his position by Pro Football Focus in safety Quintin Mikell. This year, they made a lightning-fast strike in the secondary, grabbing a player considered one of the very best (top three in 2011) at his position by Pro Football Focus in Finnegan. 

Mikell turned into a useful player, if not an impactful one on a woefully undermanned defense last season. He was adjusting to a coaching staff that had no familiarity with him as a player, and taken away from the role he plays best - that of the roaming free safety.

Finnegan arrives into a coaching staff that knows him very well, and if given rein to play the position he's best at - slot cornerback and defending the right side of the field - he could excel here. Though he gives up a relatively generous catch rate (between 60-65% over the past four seasons), no cornerback in football allowed fewer yards per catch (8.8) than Finnegan last year. This speaks to his pesky and physical play, but it also speaks to his lack of elite talent. He isn't a ball hawk, isn't a guy who can create "an island" like Revis. And he may not be the guy to automatically match up against Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, or Greg Jennings, all of whom the Rams will face next season. 

For Finnegan, though, talent is the least part of the equation. He provided a telling glimpse of his own attitude toward the game while talking about the Titans' young quarterback, Jake Locker, last July:

"He’s a tough physical kid, doesn’t mind running the football, getting down and dirty, and he works hard,” Finnegan said.  “Hard work beats talent.  Hands down, man down.  That’s something he’s done consistently.  The thing I’ve seen thus far is that he’s worked hard, and I can go to battle for someone like that."

He lands on a team with another hard worker who has absorbed - and gotten up from - more punishment in two seasons than he should in Sam Bradford. Having Finnegan in the trenches, going to battle for the Rams, can only be a good thing. 

However, as the Rams very busy front office knows, it can't be the only thing. With Jason Jones on the horizon and other signings potentially in the wind, this is just the beginning of a rebuild in Fisher's image.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bills suspend assistant coach for first six games of 2015

Trent Richardson has 50-50 chance at making Raiders roster

Rex Ryan takes subtle jabs at Jets' upper management

Everett Golson responds to Paul Finebaum's criticism

Mark Sanchez says it ‘crazy’ to call Chip Kelly racist

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Malcolm Butler daring Brady to throw his way in practice

Geno Smith confident worst is behind him and the Jets

Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

Von Miller earns dismissal from NFL’s drug program

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

WATCH: Dez Bryant throws punches at training camp

There's no need for Notre Dame to join a conference

WATCH: Benches clear during Royals-Blue Jays game

Jim Harbaugh gives Nicki Minaj a shoutout on Twitter

The Kardashian sisters still call Caitlyn Jenner 'Bruce'

Tennessee fan recreates Neyland Stadium in backyard

Lolo Jones: I could last at least a minute against Rousey

Bears have very strict rules for media during training camp

Jamaal Charles: I feel like I'm the LeBron James of football

Ronda Rousey: I'll fight Cyborg if she stops taking steroids

Danny Garcia beats Paulie Malignaggi, remains undefeated

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker