Rams Sign Smith, Three More

Posted Mar 20, 2012

The Rams formally announced the signing of four players on Monday with wide receiver Steve Smith headlining the list.

Smith, who made his name with the New York Giants and spent last year in Philadelphia, is joined by another fellow former New Yorker in Jets tight end Matt Mulligan. In addition, the Rams are bringing back a pair of players that have spent time with the team the past two years in fullback Brit Miller and offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka.

In adding Smith, the Rams hope that he can return to the production he enjoyed his first four years in New York before complications from a knee injury cut short his lone season in Philadelphia.

Smith played in nine games last year before that injury ended his season. But before that, Smith had proved to be a valuable pass catcher in his time with New York. He had his best year in 2009 when he had 107 receptions and 1,220 receiving yards on his way to a Pro Bowl berth.

As Smith enters his sixth season in the NFL, he’s posted 231 catches for 2,510 yards and 12 touchdowns after the Giants made him a second-round pick out of USC in 2007.

For the Rams, it’s expected that Smith will get a prime opportunity to contribute right away assuming he’s able to return to health. The Rams have a need for help at wideout and Smith will be asked to compete for time upon arrival.

The other former New York addition is Mulligan, who comes to St. Louis after spending the past three seasons with the Jets.

At 6’4, 270 pounds, Mulligan is known for his blocking ability and started nine games for the Jets last year. Originally an undrafted free agent out of Maine, Mulligan spent time with Miami and Tennessee before landing a roster spot in New York.

For his career, Mulligan has six catches for 60 yards. For the Rams, he’ll be asked to fill an important blocking tight end role. Mulligan played for current Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in New York.

Miller returns to the Rams after the team originally declined to tender him at the exclusive rights free agent tag. Miller will be entering his third season with the team and has filled a variety of roles for the Rams including fullback and serving on a few special teams units. He had nine special teams tackles in 2011.

Ojinnaka spent training camp with the Rams last year and was a bit of a surprise release at the end of camp. He finished the year with Indianapolis, playing nine games and starting three.

Ojinnaka was originally a fifth-round pick by Atlanta in 2006. Les Snead, the current Rams general manager, was part of the personnel team that selected Ojinnaka. For his career, Ojinnaka has played in 55 games with 15 starts.

It is expected that Ojinnaka will provide depth on the offensive line for the Rams at a few spots because of his versatility.