Love it or hate it, the Rams have the beginnings of a newer harder stance with contract negotiations. It's a welcome gust of fresh air, especially after the disastrous contracts of the previous generation such as the Drew Bennett deal (and who can forget the head-scratching Linehan idea that Josh Brown was the best free agent at any position), in which Bennett received over 13 million dollars during his short time (2 years) with the Rams.
The man mostly to thank for this is Kevin Demoff. I had a hypothesis that players who are less active in their contract negotiations are more likely to try and re-negotiate midway through, mostly because they have no idea that the raw numbers they receive aren't the best way to analyze a contract, especially in this day and age of massive-bonus-lower-salary type deals. Or they could just be greedy, sleazy people, but that debate is for another time.
But back to Demoff: the man has been a stellar "cap" man since he has had the job. Everyone already knows of the bloated contracts he cut his first year on the job; when he arrived the Rams only had 2 million dollars to play with, even though they were one of the worst teams in the league. He trimmed down the team salary and granted, the Rams aren't much better, but surely having a lower salary is an easier pill to swallow.
The Rams tough stance has been criticized in the past (I take responsibility for being one of the people who did) but the fact is that the stance has been working. The Rams biggest free agent splash of this era, Jason Brown, is being paid an average of four million a year (guaranteed- without incentives) over his five year contract, which is a good sum of money, but not as much as other lineman's contracts which seem to be ballooning out of control.
Also apparent is his handling of Ron Bartell, who could have easily left for greener pastures. His contract pays him an average of just under three and a half million a year over the four year deal. That's a good deal for a corner who is one of the Rams better players in the secondary. Hopefully he and Bradley Fletcher can battle through their injuries without losing a step, something Tye Hill couldn't find out how to do.
The Rams also added Mike Karney and James Butler for a reasonable price, and handed out a contract to Jason Smith that was only 900,000 dollars more per year then the Dolphins Jake Long, who was also selected one spot higher (1st) a year prior.
Off the heels of the Atogwe deal, which is supposedly similar to a deal that Nick Collins was given, the Rams front office is starting to get a name for itself as one that makes every penny (or every Benjamin, if you consider the millions the players make) count.
With the Rams in the poor state they are now, it is a time to count blessings, and Kevin Demoff is certainly one of them.