Updated March 13, 2012 @ 10:32 p.m. ET
The Rams have reached an agreement with free-agent CB Cortland Finnegan on a five-year deal worth $50 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported Tuesday evening.
Finnegan will be reunited with his former coach in Tennessee, Jeff Fisher, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2006 out of Samford. He has started every game in which he has played during the past five seasons, missing only three games during that period.
PFW ranked Finnegan as the 11th-best free agent on the market.
The Rams released CB Ron Bartell earlier Tuesday. Bartell had been with the team seven seasons, longer than any other Ram except RB Steven Jackson.
The way we see it
Finnegan, widely considered the top cornerback available in free agency, had been linked with Fisher, his former head coach in Tennessee, for a while. But he also was widely considered to be out of the Rams' price range entering this week. But after the Rams picked up nearly $20 million of salary-cap space Monday with the release of five starters, including top CB Ron Bartell, a reunion quickly became a strong possibility.
The CB position was a mess for the Rams last season, and Finnegan, a tough, proven playmaker, provides an immediate upgrade in an area that could still use more help with CBs Bradley Fletcher and Jerome Murphy coming off season-ending knee and ankle injuries, respectively. Finnegan's grasp of Fisher's preferred defensive tendencies should come in handy with new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams a good bet to be out of the picture for a prolonged period. Finnegan also offers flexibility with his ability to play in the slot in nickel situations.