6:04pm: The Rams officially announced the release of Long and Wells, Wagoner tweets.
5:38pm: The Rams informed offensive tackle Jake Long and center Scott Wells that they will be released, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The moves will save the team about $12MM in cap space.
The Rams will continue to speak with Long as he rehabs from his torn ACL and “discuss options,” tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL. Long, a former No. 1 overall pick, had been in St. Louis for the past two seasons after spending the first five years of his career with the Dolphins. The Rams had acknowledged that the 29-year-old would no longer be playing left tackle, as the club planned to move 2014 No. 2 overall selection Greg Robinson to that spot. Still, St. Louis had indicated that Long might still be retained, possibly to play on the right side.
But with Long scheduled to count $10.5MM against the cap in 2015, it simply didn’t make financial sense to keep him around. Injury concerns also surely played into the Rams’ thinking, as Long has torn his ACL in each of the prior two seasons, playing in just 22 games during that timeframe. With needs elsewhere on the roster, St. Louis couldn’t afford to sink money into such risky player. But if Rapoport is correct, a reunion between Long and the Rams could be in the cards, albeit at a much lower salary.
Wells, meanwhile, is a more durable player, having started 28 out of 32 games from 2013-14, but he was largely ineffective during that time — last season, in fact, he rated as the worst center in the league per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). At this point in his career, the 34-year-old Wells could struggle to find many offers on the open market. As for the Rams, they could potentially look to find a new center in free agency, where Stefen Wisniewski is the best available option.