Amid reports that the Rams are talking to the agents for multiple players who could be the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, there’s increasing chatter that, as to one of the players, there may not be much to discuss.
We’re hearing from multiple league and media sources that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford could refuse to sign a pre-draft contract with the Rams.
In the past four drafts, the only top pick not signed in advance of the commencement of the selection process was Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell. He ultimately held out into the regular season.
If Bradford declines to agree to terms before being picked, and if the Rams ultimately don’t select him, Bradford would slide to the Redskins at No. 4, at worst. (He also could end up going second or third, if a team that needs a quarterback moves up.) Operating from the four hole, Bradford likely would then attempt to invoke the so-called “quarterback premium” in the hopes of getting more than the first overall pick, just as Matt Ryan did from the third spot two years ago.
If the Rams pick Bradford without a contract in place, the leverage then flips to the player, with the Rams compelled to get the guy signed in the hopes of justifying the pick and turning around a franchise that seems far longer than a decade removed from a Super Bowl win.
We also don’t rule out the Rams picking Bradford and then attempting to trade him, like the Chargers did six years ago with Eli Manning.
Either way, Adam Schefter’s prediction could end up being wrong — but not because Bradford won’t be regarded as the best player in the draft. The Rams could decide that they won’t take Bradford if he makes it clear that he won’t sign a contract.