The St. Louis Rams have agreed to a deal with first overall pick Sam Bradford to a lucrative six-year, $78 million contract with $50 million guaranteed and the possibility of the deal being worth $86 million. The rookie QB will report to camp today where he will promptly be assigned to carry the hopes of the franchise's future along with his gear.
Bradford's deal makes him the richest rookie in history, and probably the last first overall draft pick to receive a contract like that, pending the CBA negotiations. The Rams rookie QB got the maximum deal many expected. His agents were believed to be seeking anywhere from $46 to $50 million in guarantees. Details on the incentives are not being reported at this point, but you can imagine that they have to do with various performance measures, making the Pro Bowl, etc. One detail I have not heard anything about since news of the signing broke is a lockout clause that would guarantee Bradford some salary in 2011 if the NFL and the players union cannot agree on a new collective bargaining agreement thus forcing a lockout. The potential lockout was said to be a major part of rookie contract negotiations this year, so stay tuned for more info about how that figured into Bradford's deal...and hope there's not a lockout for obvious reasons.
Give both Bradford and the Rams credit. Bradford has been saying from the beginning that he wants to be here and the Rams committed themselves to making it happen, not that they had much choice.
As for why it took until the end of July to get a deal done with the first overall pick, it's hard to say. I suspect that some of the uncertainties the Rams faced this season with new ownership changes, potential lockout and the usual negotiating gaps pushed a deal further down the road, but who knows. I suspect we'll know more as time goes by. All that matters now is that the Rams have the future of their franchise in camp and ready to play today.
In other news...
Meet Donnie Avery and the ten extra pounds he brought to camp. Avery bulked up to help prevent some of the nagging injuries that have plagued him in his first two seasons. The third year WR assured us on Twitter this weekthat he was in for 1,000 yard season.
Guard Roger Allen has mostly recovered from a nasty knee injury he suffered in the Rams week 17 loss last year. He's back at camp, putting his name in the mix to make the final cut. I can't help but like this guy.
Spagnuolo praised the early efforts of WR Mardy Gilyard, who is practicing with a hurt wrist.
Finally, I don't know if you've been paying attention to the situation in DC between Washington head coach Mike Shanahan and DT Albert Haynesworth, but it's about to turn into a pretty nasty battle. Anyway, it gives this Tweet from Rams DT Clifton Ryan some context:
Weighted in at 319 lbs. and passed my conditioning test. God Is Good. No fines and no re-test. Yea Buddy.
Right or wrong with Shanahan, it's refreshing that the Rams have the team morale that isn't forcing them to have to go through anything like that.