The NFL has suspended St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey for the first four games of the 2014 season as punishment for a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Bailey, a 2013 third-rounder who had two starts near the end of the season and had 15 catches for 195 yards in his final five games, might be a somewhat significant loss for the Rams.
Without Bailey, the Rams are now left with four receivers who spent the duration of 2013 on the roster—Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, Austin Pettis, and Chris Givens—plus free agent addition Kenny Britt, who is a question mark and has already gotten himself in hot water with a risque video posted to his Instagram account during draft weekend. They also have wideouts Justin Veltung and Emory Blake, who spent most of 2013 on the practice squad, but both of them were 2013 undrafted free agents and have yet to make a catch in an NFL game.
Now the Rams must hope that their entire receiving corps stays healthy at least through the season’s first four games. Tight ends Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks should be able to serve as decent weapons in the passing game, but no matter what it seems risky to go into the season with only four proven wideouts. It should be interesting to see if the Rams bring in any other experienced receivers to provide some depth. On the flip side, Bailey’s situation following his suspension will be a curious one, as he might lose his chance at solid playing time or even his roster spot altogether if the Rams’ receivers perform well without him.