St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey finds himself in a tough predicament but it shouldn’t delay any type of progress for the upcoming season, as head coach Jeff Fisher has large expectations for the West Virginia receiver.
2013 Season Recap: Bailey came on more at the end of the season last year, catching a total of 17 passes for 226 yards. He also ran the ball twice for 33 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown on a reverse. After being held to zero catches in the first eight games, Bailey recorded all of his stats in the second-half of the season. He caught multiple passes in each of the last five games, totaling a career-high four receptions in the final game of the season.
Contract: Bailey signed a four-year $2.736 million contract after being drafted by the Rams in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The contract included a $527,400 signing bonus. He’s set to make $512,345 this season and will become a free agent in 2017.
Summer OTA Outlook: The wide receiver group in St. Louis is wide open for competition and Bailey is surely in the mix. After being a third-round pick, Bailey is expected to crack the starting lineup after returning from his four-game suspension. The Rams didn’t draft a WR but instead went out and picked up Kenny Britt. Chris Givens is expected to win the No. 1 job with other WVU receiver Tavon Austin taking the job in the slot, leaving the other sideline receiver spot open for a competition between Bailey, Britt and Austin Pettis. Either way, Fisher plans to use all of the receivers in some way.
2014 Season Outlook: Once Bailey is back on the field, look for big things. Third-round wide receivers generally take a season to get acclimated but have been put to good use. Some notables that come to mind are Terrell Owens, Steve Smith and Hines Ward. Neither of those three wide receivers put up gaudy rookie numbers but in their second year they doubled, sometimes tripled, production for their teams. With QB Sam Bradford getting back, look for him and Bailey to get on the same page.