The St. Louis Rams made sure that Chris Long wasn’t going anywhere soon by inking him to a new contract over the weekend, but now linebacker James Laurinaitis needs to be taken care of. He is entering the final year of the four-year, $5 million deal he signed after being drafted in the second round in 2009 and has been ultra-productive for the team during that time period.
Long may get the glamor numbers in sacks, but Laurinaitis is the workhorse on the defense, leading the team in tackles during all three of his years there. He has eclipsed 100 tackles in each of those seasons as well which says quite a bit about his durability as he has yet to miss a start.
There is a lot to be said for a player who just goes about his business and produces year after year, but there’s no doubt that Laurinaitis would like to be rewarded for his work. You wouldn’t know it from his comments however as he said: “The last time I talked to Tom Condon (his agent) it was ‘Hey, good luck in camp, just go out there and do what you do. I’ve got enough to worry about without making a mental error. That stuff will take care of itself.”
With Long’s deal out of the way, the club is free to focus its efforts on Laurinaitis and keeping him with the Rams for the foreseeable future. On a youthful defense that has plenty of potential in the years ahead, locking in Laurinaitis would be a huge step toward keeping that side of the ball solid for a long time.
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