There was plenty of talk a bit earlier in the offseason about the St. Louis Rams potentially signing their two defensive cornerstones, Chris Long and James Laurinaitis, to contract extensions soon. One half of that equation is now taken care of as the club locked up Long with a four-year deal on Sunday.
Long has been on a continuously upward slope since being the second overall draft choice in 2008 by the Rams. His sack total has increased each year in the league including an impressive 13 sacks in 2011 which went along with 15 quarterback pressures and 16 quarterback hits. He did all of this despite playing with a nagging high ankle sprain which prevented him from significant practice time for a good portion of the year.
Prior to this extension, Long’s cap number in 2012 was expected to be $18.3 million so the money in his new deal figures to be large. The terms of the contract were not disclosed, but the franchise has to be happy to have one of the league’s best sack artists under contract for the foreseeable future.
Now the team’s focus shifts to Laurinaitis whose agent, Tom Condon, has been in discussions with the Rams about an extension as well. He is also heading into the final year of his rookie deal and the club needs to lock him up for the long-term if they want to maintain a strong defense into the future.
This deal with Long may have been predictable, but Rams fans should be pleased to see the contract get done before veterans report to training camp. If Laurinaitis can get his contract worked out before the regular season gets going, the team will be at peace on the defensive side of the ball for years to come.
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