2013 Free Agents of interest – Part 16 – James Laurinaitis , MLB


James Laurinaitis – MLB: 6’ 2’’, 250 lbs, 26 y/o, 4th season, was drafted out of Ohia State in the 2nd round in the 2009 draft by the St. Louis Rams.

James Laurinaitis is a prototypical MLB for teams that use the 4-3 defense.

In his four year career with St. Louis he never missed a match and started all of them.

If this stat is not impressive enough, he never recorded less than 98 tackles (solo), which happened in his second season.

He started his career with 107 tackles and has been the leader of the Rams defense. He never had played any playoff game because the Rams have been a rebuilding team since he was drafted.

He’s one of those premier players that usually never come to become a free agent this soon in their career (a la Ryan Clady i.e.) and could be that he’ll resign with the Rams ours before free agency starts just as I hope Clady will do, or that he’ll be franchised, as Clady probably will.

Anyhow he’s the only big payday free agents that I want to include in this short free agents review, even more because he plays that peculiar position that the Broncos really need: MLB.

His career stats in regular season games as week 17 of 2012: he started 64 games out of 64 regular season game he played in; amassed 518 total tackles (427 solo and 91 assisted), he recorded 8,5 sacks, 21 pass deflections, 7 interceptions and 1 forced fumble.

 

Why the broncos would be interested:

  • The Broncos need to find a way to improve the MLB position (Brooking is a free agent, Mays was a disappointment in 2012, Steven Johnson is a bit of a mystery at this point. Laurinaitis is the pro-bowl caliber MLB that would just make the 3 starting linebackers looks like monsters in Denver.
  • He has that capability to play the run and the pass as Denver needs. The flexibility he would bring to a defense as the one of the Broncos would make any defensive coordinator a chess master on Sunday.
  • He is flat out the best MLB on the free agent market (if he’ll ever officially get there).

 

Why the Broncos could not pursuing him:

  • Just one point here, but really serious. If Laurinaitis would enter free agency most probably the Broncos won’t have the ammunition the get him. Salary Cap is the reason. A bid war will start and Denver will be on the outside looking in, to see if there is a chance to snick in….but it won’t happen if Denver don’t start to cut some of the players on the roster. I don’t know how good that could be from a locker room point of view.

 

Resume:

James Laurinaitis could bring was sorely the Broncos are missing in the middle of the defense. He could become the leader of the defense and he’s so young at 26 years old that the Broncos could build aroung him, forgetting the MLB issue for at least 5-6 years.

Unfortunately he won’t be cheap at all, he’s due to a big pay-day that probably will made it up for not to him for not having been a 1st round pick in 2009. Denver does not have the ammunition to sign him big (if the Broncos are interested on sign Clady) and it’s even not sure that Laurinaitis will ever get to be a free agent: he could be franchised by the Rams or he could sign a brand new contract with them hours before free agency will start. But he would be the only big name free agent that I would consider to be added to this Denver team.

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