Chris Long and James Laurinaitis are stalwarts on the Ram defense. They have both demonstrated excellence and consistency throughout their young careers. Laurinaitis had an exceptional 2011 season: 105 TKL's, 3 Sacks, 2 Int's, and 7 PD.
Long put the heat on opposing QB's: 13 Sacks, 2 PD, and 1 Int; all from the DE position. Pass rushers are in great demand. Which begs the question: Will the Rams be able to afford both Long and Laurinaitis come 2013? It seems unlikely. If Long goes on the free agent market, he could command a pretty penny. At 27 years of age, with his pass rush production - a five year deal for $70 million - is not out of the realm of posibility.
In my opinion, the Rams would not exceed nor match $14 million a year for Long. It is understandable why they would not. Cost. I think, it would be better to allow Long to become a FA, and use the saved cash for additional talent. The loss of Long can be addressed via draft or free agency.
I would rather have the Rams focus on signing Laurinaitis. Outstanding MLB's are tough to come by. He is, in every sense of the word; a "QB' on defense. His skills - intelligence, leadership, productivity, durability and reliability - are not easily replaceable. At age 25, Laurinatis and his talents at MLB, should be locked up long term.
Personal feelings aside, I see this as the way for the Rams to go forward.
The Rams Should Allow Chris Long To Walk As A Free Agent In 2013.
1. Yes. The Rams would do better to save the money for additonal talent. (194 votes)
2. No. The Rams should make the effort to keep both Long and Laurinaitis, (1445 votes)
1639 total votes