The St. Louis Rams have a looming contract issue with Chris Long, who will be a free agent after this season.
Miami Dolphins pass rusher Cameron Wake agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $49 million over the weekend, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Wake was in the final year of a bargain basement deal well under what his 28 sacks in three seasons are worth in the league. Wake's situation sets up another comparison point for a deal between Chris Long and the St. Louis Rams as the defensive end enters the final year of his rookie deal.
Long's contract pays him considerably more than Wake's. After all, Long was the second-overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, when rookie deals were still north of the $40 million mark. Long's signed a five-year, $48 million deal. He has a cap hit of $14 million+ this season.
The Rams pass rusher said in a recent interview that he would like to re-sign with the Rams, and vice versa. As for what that will take, it may not be clear until next spring.
St. Louis would have the option of using the franchise tag on Long. They may have to use the tag next season with James Laurinaitis' contract also up at the end of the season. Though not popular with most players, the franchise tag is not an unusual step for hanging onto a blue chip player like Long while working on a longer term deal.
Wake's contract extension is less than what Long would command. Long had 14 sacks last season, and has 30.5 for his four-year career. His next deal will take shape in part based on his results this season, which should be very good thanks to the team's offseason moves to bolster the defensive line and the secondary.
The Bears gave free agent defensive end Julius Peppers a six-year, $84 million deal with $42 million guaranteed. The Panthers re-signed Charles Johnson to a six-year, $76 million deal with $32 million guaranteed. Wake's was a bargain for the Dolphins, and matches Long's rookie deal. Long is going to command a bigger contract than his first one, deservedly so.