Just how important is Jason Brown to the Rams plans? Enough that the team will pay him enough to make him one of the 50 richest professional athletes in the US, according to Sports Illustrated's "Fortunate 50." Ok, so he's not making Tiger Woods money or anything like that, but Brown, an offensive lineman, made the list, tied at #48 with 36-year-old MLB pitcher Derek Lowe.
Now, let's put this in perspective. Jason Brown, did we mention this, is an offensive lineman...not one of those precious left tackles either. The man plays center. Overpaid? You can argue that, but how many more Rams games would you watch with an offensive line configuration like last year's? Exactly.
There's another point to be made here. Offensive tackles, especially the blind side OTs, have gotten all the love recently, books, a forthcoming movie (from the same book, "The Blind Side"), and exalted draft status. But that position has come to match the edge rushers that drove the evolution of the position. Now, with the best DTs commanding double teams, it's essential to have a tough middle to your offensive line, and a center that can take on top DTs alone when he needs to is a valuable asset to have be it for pass protection or opening holes up the middle. That makes a guy like Jason Brown so valuable. Could the Rams have drafted a center for the same ends? Sure, but with so many other needs and the chance to land a proven guy in the early part of his career allowed them to instantly upgrade the line, no development time needed, as well as focus on other needs in the draft...like offensive tackle.
Good linemen make the guys around the better, another advantage Brown brings to the Rams who desperately need Jacob Bell to be the guard they're paying him to be. And on Brown's other side, Incognito benefits by not having to overcompensate for a weaker center next to him.
Did the Rams overpay for Jason Brown? You can certainly argue that; he is on the list of the 50 highest paid professional athletes in America. Ultimately, it's not my money though, and the cost of another shitty offensive line would have been much higher.
Speaking of the highest paid athletes, notice there aren't many football players on that list of the 50 richest? In fact, did you notice that only one player cracks the top ten - top twenty-five for that matter - and that's Peyton Manning thanks to almost doubling his football salary with endorsements. Thanks to the league's cap structure and contract arrangements - and facemasks - NFL players don't see the yearly take home of their counterparts from other sports.