If Rams have trouble signing Bradford, they have themselves to blame

St. Louis Rams No.1 draft pick quarterback Sam Bradford (8) runs a play during day one of the Rams rookie camp at the teams practice facility in Earth City on April 30, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

The Dolphins accomplished the feat two years ago with offensive tackle Jake Long. The Lions were able to do the same thing last year with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

But the Rams decided to wait and now, well who knows. Uncertainty is about to become their best friend over the next couple of weeks.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, when a deal eventually gets done, the guaranteed money in Sam Bradford’s contract will be between $45 million and $50 million. That’s a ton of dough for any franchise to fork over for one player, not to mention one whose owners are in the midst of trying to sell the team.

Of course, this could have been avoided had the Rams struck a deal with Bradford before the draft. They had more leverage then and certainly more options. While they wanted and needed a franchise quarterback most of all, if they knew that signing Bradford would be an issue (or they weren’t prepared to hand him $50 million in guaranteed money), they could have selected Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.

Now they’re stuck in their current situation and even though they may not think they can afford to pay him what he wants, they also can’t afford not to pay him either. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2004 and haven’t had a winning record since ’03. He represents change, hope and an opportunity to leave the recent past in the rearview mirror.

It’s dumb luck that the Rams had the No. 1 pick one year before the NFL is likely to install a rookie salary structure. But that doesn’t matter – they’re in this situation now and they need to push forward. History indicates that they have zero leverage in contract talks because of what No. 1 picks have received in previous years. They’re just going to have to bite the bullet and sign him so a nasty holdout doesn’t wipe out his rookie year.

For the record, I’m not saying that the Rams will have trouble signing Bradford. They could reach a deal by the end of the week, making all of this a moot point. But given the guaranteed money that he’s seeking, the Rams could have an issue on their hands and had they taken the same approach as the Dolphins and Lions did with their No. 1 picks, this could have been wrapped up by now.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts