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Cap space and other issues from the Rams 2009 draft

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Ride along as we continue to parse this draft. 

First of all, I want to point your attention to some excellent FanPosts touching on various issues in the draft. 

 

Be sure to jump into the discussion going on over there (and be sure to sign up for an account so you can weigh-in with your opinion, that's what it's there for).

The next step for the Rams is to get their newly drafted players signed to a contract, which will cost some serious money. This subject came up in a FanPost, and I wanted to toss out some info on the rookie cap numbers for everyone's information. Obviously, OT Jason Smith is going to get a big contract. The first round, especially high picks, is where rookie contracts get really controversial. Last year's #2 pick, Chris Long, signed a 5-year, $48 million contract with $29 million guaranteed, that was a normal step down from the number one overall pick, OT Jake Long, who signed a 6-year deal with $30 million in guarantees. What threw a kink into the rookie pay scale last year was #3 pick QB Matt Ryan's deal, an incentive-laden 6-year contract worth $72 million and $34.5 guaranteed.

This year's number one pick, QB Matt Stafford, signed a HUGE contract with more than $41 million in guaranteed money, the most in the NFL. It's hard to say what kind of effect that will have on the rest of the contracts down through the first round. Stafford is a QB, and QBs get bigger contracts than other players in the draft. It's tough to say what kind of deal Jason Smith will get, or want. His agent, Ben Dogra, is also Chris Long's agent, and I think part of the "character" concerns the Rams were talking about with their draft picks was a decreased likelihood for a contract holdout.

For an educated guess, I'll say that Smith will get a deal along the lines of what Jake Long received last year. As far as the length of time to get him signed, that's anyone's guess. Chris Long didn't sign until late July, not because of a holdout, but because they were working on a deal and having to deal with Steven Jackson's holdout. This year, there's a completely new front office in place and no issue like Jackson's contract situation looming. That, theoretically, could help speed along rookie contract talks, but ultimately we'll just have to wait and see.

As far as the total cap number for the rookies, here's ESPN's Mike Sando, from earlier this spring:

The Rams, with the second overall pick in the draft, will have to set aside about $6 million to sign their 2009 selections.