St. Louis Rams Agree to 4-Year Extension with Star DE Chris Long

Steven GerwelContributor IIIJuly 29, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 12:  Chris Long #91of the St. Louis Rams walk soff the field during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field December 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle won 33-13. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
Jay Drowns/Getty Images

The St. Louis Rams have won only 15 games in the last five years, so they're not exactly known for producing good news.

But this weekend is an exception. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports announced on Twitter that the Rams have finalized a four-year extension with star defensive end Chris Long

Rams have agreed to terms in a huge 4 year extension w DE Chris Long.

— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) July 29, 2012

The exact details of the contract have not yet been reported, but Long is coming off back-to-back monster seasons, including a 13-sack performance in 2011. 

It's difficult to gauge exactly what kind of price tag the Rams are looking at, but if some of the recent defensive end contracts are any indication, the number will be hefty. 

Mario Williams signed a six-year deal with the Buffalo Bills worth $96 million that averages $16 million a year (according to Spotrac). 

Carolina's Charles Johnson, who is probably closer to Long's level of talent than Williams, signed a six-year deal for $76 million a year ago that averages approximately $12.6 million a year (according to Spotrac).

The only question is whether the Rams were able get a reasonable deal done, or if Long demanded a monster contract.

Since Long was not due for free agency until after the 2012 season, there's a chance that both sides were fair. Contracts don't get done ahead of time as a result of stubbornness. 


What Does This Mean for St. Louis?

The Rams are coming off a two-win season and are looking to turn the franchise around with newly hired head coach Jeff Fisher.  

Both Long and linebacker James Laurinaitis were set to hit free agency after the upcoming season, so the rebuilding process would have been hindered had two of the Rams' premier players departed for greener pastures. 

Between Long, Robert Quinn and rookie Michael Brockers, the Rams have three top-15 picks on their defensive line, and the contract extension ensures that the talent will stay intact. 

The Rams aren't done with their contract hurdles, as they still need to reach an extension with Laurinaitis, who is the leader of the defense. 

But for now, St. Louis ensured that a very powerful piece of manpower will remain with the team.