Rams Release Cortland Finnegan

MARCH 11, 5:28pm: The Rams have officially released Finnegan, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter).

MARCH 5, 3:30pm: According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links), the Rams met with Finnegan today and presented him with multiple options, including taking a pay cut. Finnegan’s tweet suggests he decided to let the team release him. While Finnegan informed Fisher and a few members of the St. Louis front office of his decision after the meeting, many key members of the club’s staff found out the cornerback’s answer when they saw his tweet.

2:30pm: The Rams are releasing cornerback Cortland Finnegan, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Finnegan himself broke the news first, tweeting, “St. Louis thank you for your letting me play for a classy franchise and coach [Jeff Fisher] nothing but love thank you all.” According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link), the team will have to wait until Tuesday to officially finalize the move, due to cap restrictions.

Finnegan, whose 2013 season was cut short by a fractured orbital bone, was one of the league’s worst corners even before the injury, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). PFF ranked Finnegan 109th out of 110 qualified corners, with a grade of -19.7 in just seven games. A longtime starter for the Titans, the former seventh-round pick was named to the All-Pro first team in 2008, but has seen his production fall off in recent years.

Finnegan had a $3MM roster bonus due next week, and a $10MM overall cap number for 2014. By releasing him, the Rams will create a few million in cap savings, though the exact amount isn’t entirely clear yet. According to Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), the veteran cornerback’s roster bonus was guaranteed for injury and skill, meaning he could still receive it. The team also may designate Finnegan as a post-June 1 cut, which will spread his dead money over 2014 and 2015.

According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link), Fisher expressed an openness in re-signing Finnegan at a later date and a lower salary, but I’d be surprised if that happened. The 30-year-old will immediately become an unrestricted free agent once his release is finalized, and will likely end up signing elsewhere.

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