After a few days of rampant speculation, including "done deal" reports from ESPN's John Clayton that had fact checkers busy inserting speculative clauses after the fact, Ben Leber is finally a Ram. Leber brings a lot of positives to the team's rapidly improving linebacking unit, including the ability to work well in space. And count David Vobora among those aware of the heightened expectations.
"We're kind of doubling up these free agents this year," Vobora said. "It's a little bit crazy, and there's a lot of good players that are still floating around. So I think the competition on this team is high and that's just going to make us better."
But Leber's signing has a sad note for fans of Mr. Irrelevant: as of this morning, Vobora is no longer in horns.
With Leber apparently ready to lock down the weak side, and a combination of Zac Diles, Na'il Diggs, Bryan Kehl and Chris Chamberlain competing for reps on the strong side, there was simply no place for Vobora to get snaps, despite his positive ratings in limited play.
By releasing him this early, the Rams are giving him a chance to potentially land and stick on another roster. He'd be a good fit in Tampa Bay or Buffalo, teams that struggled to contain the running game last year and have not significantly upgraded at linebacker. However, like team-hopping Larry Grant, there's a chance that Vobora could wind up in the NFC West. He's had particularly strong games against Seattle, registering 12 tackles against them in 2009, and 11 combined (solo+assisted) in the season finale of 2010. Arizona is also LB-needy, though their 3-4 front may present a scheme challenge.
This is potentially a win-win situation. As the Rams continue to improve their talent level, it means that some "try-hard" fan favorites like Vobora will have to be watching from some other team's sidelines. Here's wishing him the best.