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QB Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford—the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2010—entered the NFL just one year before the rookie wage scale came into effect, which means Bradford owns the most pricey rookie contract in NFL history.
Bradford signed a six-year deal for $78 million and will count for $12.5 million against the salary cap in 2013 (according to Spotrac).
Quarterbacks such as Tony Romo ($17.2 million), Michael Vick ($16.9 million) and Carson Palmer ($16.8 million) will carry significantly higher cap hits in 2013 without offering superior production to Bradford, so it's hard to call Bradford overpaid when looking at the big picture.
However, Bradford's mega contract has handcuffed the team and will prevent them from making certain moves.
Bradford certainly has no obligation to take a pay cut, but it would be worth a conversation.
If the Rams can save money with a restructured contract, that money can be used to attract better receivers and blockers, which will elevate Bradford's play (and increase his overall value in the long run).
RB Steven Jackson
In 2008, Steven Jackson signed a six-year contract worth $44.8 million (according to Spotrac), but the final year of the contract (2013) was optional, and both sides have agreed to void that year (according to CBS Sports).
The Rams decided to let Jackson explore free agency, where the market will determine his actual value. St. Louis will then decide if Jackson's perceived value is worth matching and act accordingly.
Jackson will turn 30 years old in August and therefore will not attract a giant contract, which means the Rams should be able to retain him for a reasonable price.
If the Rams cannot keep Jackson, they will need to find a replacement, as the Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead combo is simply not good enough to carry the entire run game.
Rather than spending money or a draft pick on a new running back, the best option is to retain Jackson, who is the heart and soul of the offense.
Jackson had his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2012 and still has a lot to offer.
Considering the market will drop his price tag considerably, he is most valuable and cost-effective option at running back for the 2013 season.
S Quintin Mikell
Quintin Mikell is due $10 million in 2013 (according to Spotrac), which means he will be released without hesitation.
Mikell was the only bright spot at safety this season thanks to his superb tackling and killer instincts against the run, but his pass coverage was questionable at times.
Also, Mikell will turn 33 in September, which only makes his departure more likely.
On the downside, if Mikell leaves, the Rams will have a need for not one, but two starting safeties this offseason.
In order to avoid that dilemma, the Rams will look to cut Mikell and re-sign him at a discounted price.
This move is inevitable for the Rams this offseason. Hopefully, Mikell accepts reality and is willing to return at a reasonable price.