The ongoing flirtation between free agent offensive tackle Jake Long and the St. Louis Rams took a step toward the physical side yesterday. No, get your mind out of the gutter. Long reportedly underwent a near seven-hour physical with the team to examine some of his previous injuries to his biceps, triceps, knees, back and shoulders among other things. Things appear to be heating up between the two sides and whispers of a deal being imminent are beginning to swell. What kind of money can the Rams be expected to cough up for the four-time Pro Bowler?
It seems like the Jermon Bushrod signing with the Chicago Bears for five years, around $36 million takes some leverage away from Long’s camp. Long reportedly wanted $11 million or more per season which is on par with what his rookie deal paid him, but the Rams now have the upper hand with the Bears out of the running and his price being significantly lower than anticipated given Bushrod’s deal.
Comparing Long and Bushrod may seem like a stretch, but it really isn’t being that Bushrod has been named to the Pro Bowl in his two years as a starter and comes with a clean bill of health. Age also plays a significant role as Long will be 28 whereas Bushrod is only 26 and still has plenty of his prime years ahead of him.
Clearly the Rams have been taking this process slowly as they should given the precarious salary cap nature that they currently have. The team has already inked tight end Jared Cook to a lucrative deal of five years, $35.1 million that could grow to as much as $38.5 million with incentives. They clearly need to be careful as they tiptoe around the NFL salary cap ceiling.
On the football side of things, obviously adding Long would be a welcomed addition to an offensive line that has been quite porous during quarterback Sam Bradford’s tenure as starter. Plugging in an immediate upgrade at the most important position on that line at left tackle would be a huge plus for the offense as a whole.
It’s definitely a positive that nothing has gotten done yet because that means the Rams are doing their due diligence with Long and not overspending on the player that he was a few years ago. There may be some hesitation with injuries for forking over a truckload of cash to Long, but if their doctors believe he is a safe investment, expect a contract to get ironed out soon. His deal may be along the same lines as Bushrod’s with the Bears and that would be an absolute steal for the Rams.