The St. Louis Rams are starting to earn a draft day reputation. Teams that want a certain player and feel they may be drafting to far behind to get that player, I will give you one guess as to who's number is on speed dial.
Les Snead has made it clear he has a love for stockpiling picks. He has even gone as far as being quoted saying "I am not sure I even know how to draft without an extra first". Now while this is obviously sarcasm, its speaks volumes to his love for having more power in the draft than other GM's. Truth be told, there is nothing wrong with that love. The issue comes 4-5 years later when you hit the jackpot on multiple picks, and it is time to sign that player to a mega deal.
In his ESPN 101 interview, Snead without being asked, acknowledged that it was about time to pay Robert Quinn "accordingly". I think everyone will agree with him on that. But what happens if 3 years from now, both Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree are coming off All-Pro performances and defensive and offensive POY worthy performances? And then the following year, and for arguments sake, say Jake Matthews and Hasean Clinton-Dix are coming off of the same type of worthy performances. Well all of a sudden you have AT LEAST four must sign players who will cost no less than $35mil (Alec would probably be the cheapest in this scenario) to retain, with a max worth coming in around $60mil.
This would all occur after a possible Michael Brockers extension -at the rate he is going he will be extended in year four- and others will most likely need an extension as well. Snead's greatest strength, may very well be his biggest weakness. Les Snead is shaping up to be a hell of a drafter. In two drafts he has managed to bring in 17 players. SEVENTEEN!!!!! players. That is a lot!!!!!! Of those 17 I think it is safe to say the Rams will "want" to resign (so far) nine of them. Those nine being;
- Michael Brockers
- Janoris Jenkins
- Trumaine Johnson
- Greg Zuerlein
- Alec Ogletree
- TJ McDonald
- Stedman Bailey
- Zac Stacy
- Johnny Hekker
Hekker was not drafted but there is no question he will be resigned!
The nine players listed have all either shown this ability and has garnered the respect of the league to that extent, or just enough of a coaching and fan favorite to make the list.
By collecting so many draft picks, and thus far, looking as if he has hit on at the very least half of them, Les Snead has set himself up to face the hardest two -and after this draft possibly three- year stretch of any other GM. The off-season's of 2015-17 will be the hardest time of young Les Snead's career. He will be stuck with the tough task trying to resign a possible 10-12 players all worthy of top 12 money for their position with some being "possibly" top 5.
This is what I like to call the FCTR (future cap tight-rope). It will be impossible to bring all of these guys back with salaries that high. And while I am sure some will be willing to take less than whats deserved just to try to help keep the team together and win championships, the chances are the vast majority will hit the road for the dollars.
This will leave Les in a position to HAVE to keep his draft methods going for entirety of his career. Because once his first draft class hits the end of their rookie deals the retention rate will be low, all because he drafted so well. With the retention rate being so low every year from that point on, Snead will have a major hole to fill, because lets say a Michael Brockers or Alec Ogletree couldn't be afforded and left. This is the pattern he is setting himself up for.
On one hand this is a good problem to have because your team will always be one of the youngest and most talented. On the other hand every time your player hits his prime (on average about three-five years in) he will be leaving for the money leaving you looking for his replacement, because his rookie deal is ending.
Snead is a good drafter. He has an eye for talent. But will that eye for talent ultimately doom him in the later years of his career? Will he forever be known as the GM that finds the best talent for other teams? Or will he work some of that "Les is more" magic and somehow resign his top picks more often than not? Only time will tell, and I for one cannot wait to see how it all plays out.