There’s a theory making the rounds that the St. Louis Rams opted not to negotiate a rookie contract with No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford because the Rams believe there’s a chance that, come July, a new labor deal including a rookie wage scale will be struck. Under this scenario, new rules regarding veteran player compensation and free agency would apply in 2011.
Though we can’t and won’t rule it out, a quick survey of some of our most astute sources has caused us to conclude that it most likely won’t be happening.
For starters, the two sides aren’t talking. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello advises that the last meeting occurred in Indianapolis in conjunction with the Scouting Combine. But Aiello declined to disclose whether additional talks are scheduled. To have any chance at working out a deal by the time training camps open, the two sides would have to create an artificial sense of urgency, lock themselves in a five-star resort for multiple weeks, and focus only on getting a deal done.
Also, the NFLPA likely would have to be willing to do a bad deal, in order to do a deal in July. Well, if the NFLPA were willing to do a bad deal in July, the NFLPA simply would have done a bad deal in March, preserving the salary cap.
So why didn’t the Rams sign Bradford before the draft? Despite what anyone has publicly said, we’re convinced that Bradford didn’t want to do it because Bradford’s camp believed he’d be picked no lower than No. 4 — either by the Redskins or a team with which the Redskins traded.