Rams Add Finnegan

Posted Mar 14, 2012

In search of a player with the attitude and aggressive approach to the game that could set a tone for what this incarnation of the Rams wants to be, the team wasted no time in making a move when free agency opened on Tuesday.

The Rams and cornerback Cortland Finnegan came to terms on a five-year contract on Tuesday and made it official on Wednesday afternoon. Finnegan and Rams coach Jeff Fisher go way back to six years ago when Fisher was the coach in Tennessee and used a seventh-round pick on the little known corner out of Samford.

Considering that Fisher knows Finnegan so well and that Finnegan has been among the league’s elite corners in his career, it was no surprise that he was the team’s primary target when free agency began.

“We are very, very excited about his future here and what he can do as far as contributing to our defense,” Fisher said. “I have had a relationship with him, I know him very well and I know he’s going to fit in and be a very fine player for us.”

The 5’10, 192 pound Finnegan is widely regarded as one of the league’s toughest pound for pound players. He earned All Pro honors in 2008 and has the versatility to make plays in coverage (14 career interceptions), come up in run support and rush the passer (six career sacks).

Finnegan is also extremely versatile in terms of where he can line up.

“He’s a complete corner in that he’s got great cover skills,” Fisher said. “He’s a run support corner; he’s got flexibility to move inside. There is always the potential to match him up against a top receiver on a game to game basis. He’s a very, very hard worker. Every day, he’s consistent on the practice field, consistent in the weight room, understands preparation. We are going to have some younger players in the room and I think we are going to have a great example for them.”

Finnegan’s reputation goes beyond his production as a player and he’s been labeled as a guy who isn’t afraid to walk on the edges of the fine line between competitive and dirty.

In 2010, Finnegan was fined and ejected for his role in a fight with Houston receiver Andre Johnson. He’s also had some other runs ins on the field but Fisher says too much is made of Finnegan’s physical style.

Actually, Finnegan was known in Nashville for his many charitable efforts and though Fisher says he can push it to the limit, he says Finnegan’s reputation is ill conceived.

“He plays hard,” Fisher said. “I think his reputation is largely misunderstood out there from a standpoint of the dirty player type thing and all that. He’s just a very productive player. The only thing he does better than what he does on the field is what he does off the field in the community. He’ll have a tremendous impact in the community as well. Yeah, he plays with an edge. He challenges and he competes and he finishes every down.”

Finnegan will step in immediately at a position of need for a Rams team that played last season without its top corners for most of the year. For such a hard hitting player, Finnegan has been extremely durable, missing just three games in the past five seasons.

The Rams are expected to introduce Finnegan at a new conference Thursday at 10 a.m.