New St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo recently suggested that tailback Steven Jackson would be the man around whom the Rams' offense was designed. On Monday, Spagnuolo validated that desire, reaching agreement with free agent tight end Billy Bajema on a contract.
Bajema, 26, spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with San Francisco and is regarded as strictly a blocking tight end. In fact, in four seasons with the 49ers, Bajema registered only seven catches, and just two since his rookie season.
The signing, rumored for the past week, was first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and later confirmed by a team source. Contract details were not yet available.
A former Oklahoma State standout, Bajema was a seventh-round pick of the 49ers in the 2005 draft.
He joins Eric Butler, Daniel Fells, and projected starter Joe Klopfenstein on the St. Louis roster. It is expected that he will be used as the team's blocking tight end. The Rams released veteran tight end Anthony Becht two weeks ago.
Bajema started in a career-high 10 games in 2008, and appeared in all 16 contests but caught only two passes for 34 yards. He had no receptions in each of the previous two seasons. As a rookie, Bajema had a five receptions for 54 yards.
He has yet to score a touchdown in the NFL but is a strong in-line blocker, consistent with Spagnuolo's intent to run the ball.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.