EARTH CITY, MO - JULY 31: Members of the St. Louis Rams offense and defense line up against each other during training camp at the Russell Training Center on July 31, 2011 in Earth City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
I feel like I've heard this before ... probably because I said it before, and so did you, and you, and you and every other fan who wondered about the fate of the St. Louis Rams second overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, tackle Jason Smith. But I'll say it again: this is a pivotal year for Smith. No really, this may be his last shot at an NFL career.
Smith agreed to restructure his contract in April, dropping from $10 million in salary this year to just $4 million. His 2013 salary went from a $12 million base to a roster bonus of $11.25 million with the rest in salary. A bonus like that usually means a team won't be keeping that player around if they struggle, either with their play or with injury. Smith has struggled with both, including two serious concussions in his career.
The Rams, and especially Sam Bradford, really need him to be a solid tackle this season. A fresh start may be just what the doctor ordered.
He even changed his number, from 77 to 72, according to Howard Balzer.