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Caldwell signs with the Rams

Mar 25, 2008, 5:33 PM EST

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Receiver Reche Caldwell, who spent last season as a reserve with the Washington Redskins, has signed a contract with the St. Louis Rams.

Caldwell, who will turn 29 on Friday, was picked up by the Redskins early in the season. After being inactive for most of the first 10 weeks of the season, he started to see some action in the latter part of the year. He caught 15 passes for an average of 9.4 yards per catch, a paltry average for a wide receiver.

The Redskins have had a one-year, veteran minimum contract offer sitting on the table for Caldwell since the start of free agency. They also extended a minimum-salary offer to former Seattle receiver D. J. Hackett.

It doesn’t take a very sophisticated reading of the tea leaves to figure out that the Redskins have a salary slot set aside for a veteran wide receiver who is willing to play for the minimum salary.

Given Caldwell’s rejection, it could be a while before the Skins are able to find someone to fill that spot. The remaining veteran free agents on the market right now consist of the likes of Samie Parker, Tim Dwight, and Aaron Moorehead. They could opt, I suppose, to party like it was Buffalo in 1999 and reunite Eric Moulds and Peerless Price.

Indeed, Caldwell, with his 140 yards of productivity in 2007, was the cream of the remaining free agent receiver crop.

Caldwell’s departure leaves the Redskins with seven receivers on the roster—Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, James Thrash, Anthony Mix, Billy McMullen, Burl Toler, and Maurice Mann. The team probably will keep five on the 53-man roster.

As of right now, only Moss and Randle El are assured of having roster one of those 53 spots.

I think that Mix will be given a shot at beating out Thrash, who is about to turn 33. Mix could be a younger, cheaper version of Thrash, a special teams standout who also can be productive at receiver when necessary.

It seems almost certain that one of the Redskins draft picks in the first three rounds will be a receiver; that leaves one WR roster spot. If the team finds that vet-minimum guy, he’s number five. This hypothetical wideout may not become available until someone is cut in training camp.

That’s the scenario that McMullen is hoping for, anyway. The longer it takes the Redskins to find that veteran, the longer he has to convince the Redskins that he could be that guy. If anyone was glad to see Caldwell head West, it was McMullen, a former Virginia standout and a third-round pick by the Eagles who has the size (6′ 4″) but never has been productive enough to earn a regular spot.

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