St. Louis Rams Release WR Austin Pettis


On Monday afternoon, a day after he was a healthy inactive for the first time this season, the St. Louis Rams released wide receiver Austin Pettis.

The 6-foot-3, 203-pound wideout had been with the Rams for the past four seasons, having been drafted in the third round out of Boise State in 2011. The 26-year-old had some good moments in St. Louis and saw action as a starter in 2012 and 2013. Over those three-plus seasons, Pettis accumulated 107 catches for 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns over 47 games.

With that said, his limitations were pretty evident to anyone who watched him play. While he has quality size, Pettis is certainly slower than your average NFL receiver, and it was evident in his statistics. His yards after catch per reception consistently ranked among the league’s lowest; in fact, his 3.1 YAC per catch was tied for 96th best among receivers who played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus.

Pettis, whose role on this year’s Rams team was as a possession receiver, failed to effectively fill that role in recent weeks. Two drops by Pettis on the Rams’ final possession two weeks ago in Philadelphia stalled the Rams’ attempt at a comeback. He failed to come up with another pass in the first quarter of the Rams’ Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers a week ago.

More from St. Louis Rams

Pettis was held back by an ankle injury in the practices leading up to the Rams’ game against the Seattle Seahawks yesterday, and as a result he was passed up by third-year wideout Chris Givens on the depth chart. Though he had limited snaps, Givens delivered with a clutch 30-yard catch, immediately casting Pettis’s status into doubt.

The Rams also released wideout Emory Blake from the practice squad on Monday, leaving them with just five receivers among the 63 players that they utilize for practice. They’ll likely need another receiver to practice with, though it seems likely that the Rams could fill that position on the practice squad and instead use Pettis’s vacated spot to add depth on the offensive line or in the secondary, where their depth was already lacking with injuries to corners Trumaine Johnson and Brandon McGee and center Tim Barnes, and was tested again on Sunday with starting corner Janoris Jenkins and guard Rodger Saffold getting hurt.