Carter Close to Signing with Rams

VU got scoffed at ealier this week when it said Cris Carter was going to St. Louis. Now, they're singing a different tune.

Cris Carter as a No. 3 receiver?

That notion met with the same scrutiny as Robert Smith walking away from $30 million to retire. When VU said Smith was gone, we got basted by the local media -- until it happened. The same was true with Carter, but it almost happened Friday.

VU has been told by sources close to the situation -- both on the Carter side and the Rams side -- that a deal was almost struck on the opening day of free agency to get Carter to the Rams.

While a deal wasn't signed, this much came out. First, because of the Rams' system that employs three wide receivers on most plays, Carter would be willing to be a possession receiver with such an offense. Second, the Rams can give Carter what few teams can -- a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl ring. Third, Carter is willing to play for St. Louis for less than his market value as a starter. VU has been told he will sign either a two-year deal for $3.5 million or a three-year deal for $4.5 million with very little tied up in a signing bonus.

The Rams sources that have talked to VU have said the market price for Az-zahir Hakim are going to be too rich for the Rams to chase and that they're convinced they can get Carter for "Ricky Proehl money."

While the Rams front office brass is currently immersed in the Combine of rookies at Indianapolis, this is a sign that Carter could be locked and loaded as soon as Monday or Tuesday of next week -- word we got was that a deal could well have been signed today, but the legalese of the contract language kept it from happening.

* The New Orleans Saints are going to turn up the heat on the Vikings in the coming days. Not only are the Saints willing to offer Dale Carter a contract for $4-5 million a year, but they're willing to sign his brother Jake Reed -- whom the Saints cut just one year ago. The bar is being raised and the Vikes are being put on notice -- to sign D.C. you'll likely have to throw a bone to Jake as well.
* While Reed wasn't targeted by the Vikes as a starter, the Saints interest is disturbing because VU has been told that the Vikes thought re-signing Reed was a forgone conclusion. Apparently, that isn't the case.
* VU has also been told by our Browns sources that Foge Fazio has made a strong argument to bring in Robert Griffith. Fazio, who loves Corey Fuller, a former Vikings cornerback, was instrumental in bringing Dwayne Rudd to the Browns and wants Griff to join in the fun.
* Mike Tice tried to downplay the negative aspects of Randy Moss when confronted by the national media at the Combine, but said in no uncertain terms that there will not be a double standard with Moss that was evident with Dennis Green.
* VU has been told that Cleveland, Houston and St. Louis all have an interest in Kailee Wong and may bring him in for visits in the next week or so.
* Tice said Friday that attempts to lure Robert Smith out of retirement have netted nothing and that Smith is training to compete in the decathlon -- whether he is Olympic class is doubtful, but it's interesting to see that he is keeping himself in phenomenal shape.

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