Former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt is hoping to revitalize his career with the St. Louis Rams. He never lived up to his potential as a first-round selection by the Titans in 2009, and struggled especially hard in the final year of his rookie contract. The Titans did not attempt to re-sign Britt last year, and he hit the free agent market to little fanfare.
NFL Free Agency
NFL Free Agency
On Monday, Britt signed with the best possible team for him: the Rams. St. Louis signed him to a one-year contract worth $1.4 million, with incentives that could escalate his payout to $2.9 million. His deal is a cut-and-dry "prove it" deal. It's easy to imagine a scenario in which the Rams attempt to re-do his deal if things are working out during the season.
Unfortunately, it's just as easy to imagine it ending in ruin, and Britt hitting the open market to even less fanfare next season. His 2013 campaign was just that poor. As a first-round pick, Britt has a high ceiling and definitely has play-making ability. He's primarily a red-zone threat and fits the bill of a No. 1 receiver, and he showed flashes of that over his first couple seasons before going downhill.
In 2009, Britt caught 42 passes for 710 yards with three touchdowns. He caught 42 passes again in 2010, this time for 775 yards with nine touchdowns, career highs. Unfortunately, he was injured in 2011 and only played in three games. In 2012, he put up 580 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games.
Last season was when it went really poorly. Britt played in 12 games, and caught just 11 passes for 96 yards with no touchdowns. Britt found himself eclipsed by Kendall Wright, and lost his starting role. He had struggles with drops, off-the-field issues and, of course, injuries. But Britt has flashed his skillset in the past and his biggest concern -- injuries -- appear to be behind him.
So what does he bring to the table for the Rams? Potentially a lot, as it happens ... the Rams have had significant issues at the wide receiver position for years. Every single year, the Rams draft multiple receivers and it never seems as though those receivers pan out.
Last season, Jared Cook, a tight end free agent signing, led the Rams with 671 receiving yards. Chris Givens, a fourth-round pick in 2012, was in second with 569 receiving yardage. The big disappointment was Tavon Austin, who caught 40 passes for just 418 yards and four touchdowns. Then there's Brian Quick, Austin Pettis and Stedman Bailey -- all of whom have struggled.
Both Pettis and Quick have shown flashes here and there and Austin obviously has plenty of time to grow into his own and flash his game-breaking ability. But how the actual depth breaks down is the big question here.
It seems most likely that the Rams believe Givens can still be a top receiver, while Austin fits the mold of a slot receiver more than anything. Britt, on the other hand, is the only one of the three that really has the makings of a No. 1 receiver. It's unclear what the Rams expect from him, but it doesn't sound like a stretch to believe they're going to throw Britt in there and see what happens.
A depth chart of Britt, Givens and Austin doesn't look too bad, but it's still three guys who may or may not actually amount to anything. It's clear that Britt joined the Rams to get the best opportunity for success next season.
As for what impact he can have, it seems his potential is through the roof. St. Louis will once again roll with Sam Bradford at quarterback and we can only talk about the wide receiver for so long before his time runs out. Britt may be Bradford's best chance to succeed and keep his job heading into the following season.