Early on Friday afternoon, Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens sent out a tweet welcoming Rodger Saffold back to the team. A couple of hours later, Clemens was no longer a Ram. That’s the NFL for you. Not For Long. Clemens agreed to terms on a two-year, $3 million deal to back up Philip Rivers in San Diego. The Rams knew Clemens was drawing interest from a few other teams, but even they were surprised. Then again, Clemens was surprised himself. “It all happened in about a four-minute phone call with my agent,” Clemens told the Post-Dispatch. “He said the Chargers just called. Here’s what they’re offering. And I said alright. Let’s do it.” Entering the offseason, Clemens thought he’d end up back in St. Louis, where he had spent the last two-plus seasons. It was a comfortable fit because of his long association with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer — dating back to their time together with the New York Jets — plus his strong relationship with coach Jeff Fisher and starting quarterback Sam Bradford. “That was kind of what we thought, was that we were gonna be back here,” Clemens said. “The kids are in school, and we love the organization.” But Clemens got a fair amount of interest once the free agency period started, which Clemens joked: “sure beats the alternative.” In San Diego, he’s back on the west coast, and closer to his home in Oregon. His wife attended college at the University of San Diego, and he knows Rivers fairly well. And then of course, there was the bottom line. “Obviously, financially it was better than we were probably going to be able to do elsewhere,” Clemens said. Clemens made $870,000 last season with the Rams, and probably would’ve made a similar amount had he returned this year. His two-year contract with San Diego averages $1.5 million a year. While the Rams were interested in re-signing him, Clemons said, “I don’t know that they were two years interested.” When he made his “welcome back” tweet to Saffold, Clemens had no idea the situation with San Diego was about to happen. “There were a couple of other teams at that point,” he said. “It’s kind of a game of dominoes. The top guys kind of go, and once one goes it’s dominoes and musical chairs.” Once Josh McCown signed with Tampa Bay, things started to unfold at the quarterback position around the league in free agency. With Clemens now gone, the only quarterback on the Rams’ current roster besides Bradford is Austin Davis. Among the current available free agents are: Jason Campbell, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Flynn, Josh Freeman, David Garrard, Shaun Hill, Tarvaris Jackson, and Michael Vick. Freeman and Vick undoubtedly are looking for destinations where they can start, and with that, receive bigger paychecks. Fitzpatrick, a former Rams draft pick, was just released by Tennessee. Hill is an interesting name because he once played for current Rams quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti in San Francisco and was brought in for a free-agent visit in 2012 by the Rams only to re-sign with Detroit. In the draft, the signals from Rams Park all along this offseason have been that the team planned to draft a quarterback this year. Clemens’ departure only strengthens the chances of that happening.
Career year was good for Clemens
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Mar 16