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Call of the Dotted Lines

When you follow teams obsessively enough to write/read blogs, leaving town for a couple days can be anything but a vacation. Wives and/or the nonfans in your life just don't understand the need to get to computer to check out Rams news months before the season even begins, and are generally thankful when you lack computer access during that time.

Low and behold I did miss some (semi) important Rams news, the signings of draft picks Wade and Stanley. Ok, it's hardly earth shattering when a team signs its third and seventh round picks, but I was starting to wonder when all of this would start happening. As for the other draft picks, I suspect we'll start seeing those names in the paper as signed pretty soon. In perusing the blogs of other teams, I've yet to see a first round pick that has signed. In fact, it's only been pretty recently that news of mid and late round picks signing has made the news. The Rams are right in line with the rest of the league, so let's discount the internet rumors of Carriker et al holding out.

A deal for Carriker, who seems pretty eager to play in St. Louis and the NFL, will take longer to get done because there's a lot more that goes into signing a first round pick than a seventh rounder. I'm sure the league in general is also waiting to see what precedents get set with deals for first-rounders at various positions.

The contract I'd be most worried about is Bulger's. This article from speculates that Bulger could command Brady/Manning money and could hold off on signing anything until the season gets played out. Bulger's good, real, real good, and for my money, I'll take him over Brady (crazy?). His numbers put him among the league's elite and there's no reason to think that those numbers won't actually improve this season. If he played in a big media market, he'd easily get top dollar because the national press would be helping to drive his reputation. Here's the hopeful note in the article linked above:

Bulger told me he thinks a deal will get done. I think he is the one sure bet of these three quarterbacks right now.

It seems to me, that the Rams' chances for competing for a championship in the next few seasons will play some role in Bulger's decision and willingness to negotiate. Here's an "x-factor" in all of this: Steven Jackson has two years left on his contract, a five year, $7 million deal signed in 2004 that carries incentive money. I think retaining him will be a pretty big priority as well, and if Bulger signs, those two will carry some pretty hefty deals.

On the DT front, Tank Johnson supposedly has a few suitors already, proving that there is in fact some mercenary element to this business after all. Windy City Gridiron reports that the Saints, Bills and Cowboys are showing some interest. The Cowboys. It's a prefect fit.

Thanks again to stlouiscardinalsfang for his yeoman effort on putting together a TST fantasy football league. If you haven't signed up yet, what the hell are you waiting for?