History leaves the Rams little leverage in Bradford contract talks

Is it hyperbole to say that Sam Bradford's contract is the most important contract negotiations in the St. Louis Rams recent history? Not really. Obviously any first round pick is a critical signing, but when the entire of future of the franchise is riding on the QB picked first overall, the team needs their man in order to start the slow trudge of history out of sports page headlines. 

Yeah, so nothing riding on this or anything. That's why this maybe-it's-nothing report from PFT struck fear into the hearts of patiently waiting fans. 

Friday's meeting between Sam Bradford's representatives and the Rams wasn't very fruitful.

Mike Florio reports via a league source that the two sides have a "long way to go" and there was no real progress made during the meeting.

Take it with a grain of salt. PFT isn't always the most accurate, and your definition of "long way to go" could be much different than my definition of the same phrase. And how much progress do you expect after one meeting?

There's no doubt that Bradford will get a deal richer than the one last year's first overall pick, Lions QB Matthew Stafford...which I guess makes sense because it's a different year? Inflation is as flat as it's ever going to get so that can't be it....huh. Anyway...how much more than Stafford? $50 million guaranteed is about 17 percent above last year's #1 QB deal. A 10 percent jump in guaranteed money represents almost $46 million. Negotiations have to fall in that ballpark, I would think. 

I can't imagine the Rams getting all John Foster Dulles with Tom Condon and taking up a little brinksmanship. With a pending change in ownership, the need to at least explore a stadium deal (somewhere) and three years of flat ticket sales, Kevin Demoff isn't exactly negotiating from a position of strength. 

Yes, rookie deals are ridiculous, but there's nothing owners can do about it at this point other than live with it. That falls under that timeless wisdom of hating the game, rather than the, ahem, playa. Spare us the digression on rookie salaries until we're talking CBA. 

The Rams, much to the chagrin of some fans, spent just a little money here and there in free agency to add some veteran depth (a move I liked) and avoided the big, expensive signings. We can assume much of that had to do with the knowledge that the team had the first overall pick, leaving them little money for other moves at a time when the team's financial operations are hamstrung by the looming ownership change. Cost of a deal for a first overall pick, even for a QB, could have hardly been a surprise for the front office. 

Think of Bradford's mega deal as one last poke from the previous era, a booby trap left by Jay Zygmunt as security dragged him and his banker's box full of stolen office supplies off the premises. Infighting and mismanagement marked the Zygmunt era, along with rouge's gallery of accomplices, leaving the Rams in the sorry state that put them in the very expensive position of picking first in the draft, after picking second the two years prior. Bradford's contract will be a golden reminder of both the Rams past and the future.

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We're not the only ones watching the Bradford talks. Detroit and Tampa Bay, who made the second and third picks in the draft, are both negotiating with players, Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, who are now waiting to see what kind of deal Bradford gets before signing their own.  

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