The St. Louis Rams and defensive end Chris Long agreed to a deal to restructure the last two years of his contract, which runs through 2012. The new deal does not include any new money for Long, but it does change his cap value.
Long, still playing under his rookie contract, now counts for $9.482 million against the cap this year. The restructured deal includes a $12.1 million signing bonus. With a base salary in excess of $10 million and the signing bonus, Long carries a pricey $18.3 million cap number next season.
The move frees up $4 million in cap space this season. The move has naturally aroused questions about the motivations for freeing up cap space, but it's not what it seems. Here's what Rams COO Kevin Demoff told me today via email about the motivations for restructuring Long's deal:
The Chris Long restructure was done solely to resolve a grievance that had been pending since 2009. Without the grievance we would not have done a re-structure as there was no need to do it for cap purposes. The framework had been done for about six weeks but there were some issues to resolve before it could be completed.
The deal was completed on September 17.
Long is still under contract for 2012 as are 18 of 22 starters, according to Demoff. With three sacks on the season, Long could be rolling to a career year, putting his compensation in line with other premier pass rushers.