March , 2009

Sideline Scouting

Draft Tribune: Your Draft Authority

Torry Holt wants out

Posted by Administrator On March - 5 - 2009

Seven-time Pro Bowler Torry Holt, a mainstay of the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf teams, has asked for his release, league sources told the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday. But the Rams still have 12 days to grant his wish.

Holt, 32, is due a roster bonus of $1.25 million March 17, so it’s highly unlikely he will be a Ram beyond then. But the Rams could still try to trade him until then, meaning any potential trade partner wouldn’t have to compete for his services, as would be the case if he were released.

Today marks only the seventh day of the free agency period. But more than 100 players already have either signed with new teams or re-signed with their old squad. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been committed in new contracts.

Realizing he no longer fits in the team’s plans, Holt is seeking closure on his time in St. Louis, as well as an opportunity to find a job ASAP.

Many of the top available receivers in free agency have gotten new contracts. Laveranues Coles (Cincinnati), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Seattle), Nate Washington (Tennessee), Brandon Jones (San Francisco), Bryant Johnson (Detroit) and Jabar Gaffney (Denver) have signed with new teams.

Michael Clayton (Tampa Bay) and Devery Henderson (New Orleans) have re-signed with their old squads. Antonio Bryant was given the franchise tag by Tampa Bay.

As of Wednesday evening, there were some older receivers still on the market, however, including Marvin Harrison, 36, Joey Galloway, 37, Bobby Engram, 36, Amani Toomer, 34, and Ike Hilliard, 32. In addition, the New York Giants may eventually dump Plaxico Burress at some point because of his off-field problems.

Holt, the No. 6 overall draft pick by the Rams in 1999, has caught more passes (817) for more yards (11,872) than any receiver in the NFL this decade. Over his entire 10-year career, his average of 80.1 yards a game is the highest for any receiver in league history. Overall, Holt is 11th in career receptions (869) and 14th in career receiving yards (12,660).

At the start of the 2008 season, Holt said he wanted to make his 10th NFL campaign special — both from a team standpoint and an individual standpoint. At the start of training camp at Concordia University Wisconsin, he indicated that winning was more important than money or individual achievements at this stage of his career.

But 2008 turned out to be disastrous on several fronts. Coach Scott Linehan was fired four games into the year, and the team finished with a 2-14 record, struggling mightily on both sides of the ball.

Holt’s production plummeted. He finished with 64 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns. The TD total was a career low. His totals for receptions and reception yards were the lowest since his rookie season. And his string of eight-straight 1,000-yard seasons was snapped.

Near the end of the 2008 season, Holt issued a blunt “no comment” when asked if he wanted to return to the Rams in 2009. He has one year left on his contract and currently counts $10.2 million against the Rams’ salary cap. Trading or releasing him would save the team $8 million this season, which comes in the form of a $6.65 million base salary, a $100,000 offseason workout bonus and the $1.25 million roster bonus.

League sources indicated over the weekend that the Rams were trying to trade both Holt and another Rams seven-time Pro Bowler, left tackle Orlando Pace. But so far there appear to be no suitors for either player.

Holt could not be reached to comment Wednesday.

Rams general manager Billy Devaney, when reached Wednesday night, said, “Our only comment is no comment.”


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