This may not be the Year of the Ram, but I don't need to be a Chinese Astrologer to tell you that this week is going to be critical to the Rams in a lot of different ways... starting with a critical ownership decision on Monday.
Monday, Aril 12th, Stan Kroenke must announce his intentions as regards his 40% minority share in the team. His stay-or-sell decision may very well make or break the bid effort of Shahid Khan, as there have already been plenty of whispers of fiscal concern within the league office for only a 60% bid. While Khan insists he can pony up the full amount if needed, the scrutiny he has faced so far will redouble.
Thursday, April 15th is the last day that any restricted free agent can entertain an offer with a new team. At this point, it looks strongly as though both Barron and Atogwe will line up for the Rams again. (There are also eight "exclusive rights" RFAs that have no choice but to return to the Rams -- Ken Darby, David Vobora and Quincy Butler most notable among them.
Oh, and there's this other deadline coming on the 15th too, isn't there? I'm wondering if donating more than 100,000 words to the Rams in the last year counts as a charitable deduction...
Finally, April 19th is the date of the Rams' private workout with Sam Bradford, and the unofficial deadline for finalizing contract terms in hopes of a pre-draft signing. This contract will be notable not just to the Rams and their future. Especially if a quarterback is the choice, this could set the high-water mark for rookie contracts for years to come, if the new collective bargaining agreement places more restrictive caps on money for draftees in 2011 and beyond. This will prove to be yet anther important financial hurdle for Khan and the Rams to overcome, and makes this Monday's announcement by Kroenke all the more important.