I keep reading and hearing about the first overall draft pick Sam Bradford and his contract negotiations or lack there of. It is often reported by the media giant that is ESPN that Bradford will be the highest paid player, with an expected amount of $46-50 million. Now, I gotta admit that it is nice to hear ESPN report or comment on the Rams without the reminder of our past record or their perception of where the Rams roster ranks. As if any Rams fan had no idea what the teams record has been for the last few years. Anyhow, it got me thinking about who has the leverage in this negotiation between player/agent and team.
The Rams are in desperate need of help all over the field, Offense particularly. For a team that has only won 6 games in three years and with incredible struggles when it comes to putting the ball in the endzone, you can understand why they choose to go with a new QB at the helm. Then add that to the commitment of building the O-line, to protect a future investment, with the signing of a big dollar FA in Brown, and the drafting of 2nd overall pick Smith at LT and 2nd round pick Saffold at RT, and you can see that it only makes sense.
If you look at teams with quality QB's such as Manning, Brady, and Brees, you come to realize how important the captain of the ship is. Even with injuries amassing at the WR position, you see these guys pulling out wins with surrounding talent like Garcon, Collie, Julian Adelman, and anyone in a New Orleans shirt. This is definitely a position of immense importance. Does that mean that the Rams are in a position where they have to bend to every demand? I'm not sure about that.
Let's look at the flip sode of the coin here and see what the other side has to concern themselves with...
If Bradford and Condon try to play hardball, there will be some things for them to consider closely. Bradford hasn't not played in a game in over a year. If they are not able to get a deal done and Sammy has to re-enter the draft next year that would mean that it has now been over 2 years since a game has been played by this QB. If you consider the serious posibility that there may be a work stoppage for next year, that could equate to 3 years of no field time at a high level. Not too attractive. How about the money? If they are not able to agree to terms, that means Bradford would have to re-enter the draft more than likely facing a future Rookie Salary Cap...thus loosing out on MILLIONS. Then add that to the fact that should he re-enter the draft next year there is no sure thing as to where he would go, thus costing him even more money.
I am not saying pay the kid less than what Matt Stafford received last year, but lets not inflate this more than it needs to be. $46 mil represents a 10% increase from last years 1st overall pick Stafford, and $50 mil represents an astonishing 19% increase. I hope the front office can see that the ball is still in their court and should not bend too much. I feel that a $44-46 million range is more than fair and we will not be insulting our Franchis cornerstone for the future. So with that said what do you think?