Just when the hype around the St. Louis Rams potential first overall pick started sounding so good, comes the faint whisper of dark clouds looming on the horizon. This report from PFT points to a few unnamed "league and media" sources expressing doubts that Sam Bradford would sign a contract prior to the draft, leaving open the possibility of a protracted holdout or trade.
I'm dubious. Though we're less than a month away from the draft, there's still plenty of time left until April 22 for contract talks. Bradford has not made any indications that he would refuse to play for the Rams, a la Eli Manning. In fact, he told the press today why the Rams should pick him with the first selection in the draft. But there's more to my cynicism on this rumor. He could still express an unwillingness to play for the Rams, but it's not consistent with the reputation that he (and his agent Tom Condon) have been cultivating.
Bradford and the Rams have precedent on their side, recent precedent. There's a very comparable situation from last year's draft with the Lions selection of Matt Stafford with the first overall pick. If the Rams were to select Bradford, a deal similar to that one. Bradford would be more likely to get a better contract at first overall than getting picked later and using Matt Ryan's argument that a QB is worth more than whatever position got picked first. And of course, what incentive does Bradford have for the inevitable JaMarcus Russell comparisons should he holdout.
Devaney has some leverage with Ndamukong Suh (remember him?) being a very viable first overall pick too. We'll see how this plays out.
There's another rumor on the wires today. ESPN's Adam Schefter told ESPN 101 radio in St. Louis that he'd be "surprised" if the league approved Shahid Khan were approved as the next owner of the Rams. That would be a huge upset. He didn't elaborate on that statement, but the most logical assumption would be a matter of whether or not he has the money. Supposedly, that much should have been determined when Goldman Sachs was vetting potential buyers. Of course, there's still the Kroenke wild card. Though he's expected to remain a 40 percent owner, he could decide to sell out, forcing Khan to buy his piece of the team, which Khan may not have the money to do.
In that same interview with Schefter said that the Rams should be willing to pay Bradford whatever's reasonable for a contract if they truly feel he can be a franchise quarterback.