According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, the St. Louis Rams are open to contract extension talks with quarterback Sam Bradford. This is hardly surprising news considering the Rams drafted Bradford No. 1 overall in 2010.
Until Bradford develops consistency, however, he shouldn't receive a contract extension.
Bradford's deal doesn't run out until 2015, and he's due $27 million over the next two seasons. While he may be seeing a large chunk of change, Bradford has done nothing to create the reputation of an elite quarterback.
Per Rosenthal, Rams president Kevin Dernoff has made it clear that Bradford is the franchise quarterback, regardless of those statistical truths:
"We have decided that Sam Bradford is our guy. If they came to us and wanted to do a contract extension right now, we'd do it in a minute," Demoff told Silver.
Rapoport and Silver reported on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access Kickoff" that Bradford is in no rush to work on an extension. Bradford knows how highly the Rams think of him, but he'd like to wait until he has the stats to back up the kind of contract he wants.
It's genuinely refreshing that Bradford knows his own financial value. Even still, that doesn't mean the Rams were as wise in their evaluation of the quarterback.
Somehow, Bradford is receiving more money in one game than other quarterbacks receive in a matter of three months.
St. Louis is still waiting on a postseason berth under Bradford's guidance.
Bradford is a very skilled player who has the upside to be St. Louis' franchise quarterback. Still only 25, the former Oklahoma Sooners star can turn things around and become of the best in the game.
Until he consistently displays that ability, however, Bradford is not worth the financial risk.
During the course of his first first 45 games as an NFL quarterback, Bradford has been average at the quarterback position. He's not a bad player, and thus the label of bust is premature, but he's done nothing to earn the star label, either.
The proof is in the numbers.
Thus far, Bradford has completed 58.6 percent of his passes with 51 touchdowns, 36 interceptions and 24 fumbles. His 60 turnovers to 53 total touchdowns is a sign of what he's done as a quarterback, struggling to lead a powerful offensive charge.
With a career high of 21 touchdown passes in 2012, Bradford still hasn't come close to making the leap to elite.
If that's not enough, Bradford has compiled a record that is well below .500 through his first 46 games as an NFL quarterback. Furthermore, the former Sooners star has failed to make strides toward the postseason while the other members of the NFC West have thrived.
The Rams have one of the most significantly improved wide receiver corps in the NFL with Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey teaming with Chris Givens and Austin Pettis. Even still, St. Louis doesn't have a single receiver who can be labeled as a genuine star.
Just don't think that lets Bradford off of the hook.
In order to earn his contract extension, Bradford needs to post a 4,000-plus-yard season with at least 25 touchdowns. More importantly, he needs to lead St. Louis to its first winning season since 2004.
During his fourth year in the league, the grace period is over.
Bradford is now 16-29-1 after losing 35-11 to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.
Bust is too strong of a word, but it's time for Bradford to turn things around in St. Louis. With the Rams' season starting at 1-3, the team could miss the postseason in 2013 and continue a string of lackluster performances.
There's no question that the potential is there, but in his fourth season, the word "upside" is losing its merit.