Amid chatter from some in league circles who believe that the Rams should exclaim that they’re mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore when it comes to the ridiculous money paid to unproven players at the top of the draft, the early indications are that the Rams won’t be taking a stand in what could be the last year of what the agents are calling the “free money.”
Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that negotiations between the franchise that has won six games in three years and the agents for quarterback Sam Bradford began on Friday, and that the two sides are “expected to lay the groundwork for what will be the richest deal in NFL history.”
Schefter suggests that the deal will pay Bradford between $45 million and $50 million in guaranteed money. Last year, the Lions gave to Matt Stafford, the first pick in the draft, $41.7 million in guarantees.
But even on the low end of the range, do the economics justify an increase of nearly eight percent in guaranteed money? Or do the Rams — like most other bad teams that “earned’ the first pick in the draft — have no choice but to pay the man what his agents say he wants in the hopes of getting better at some point in the future?
Some think that the Rams have a choice. Some think that the Rams can, and that they should, take a stand. Really, what leverage does Bradford have? He can sit out another football season (he barely played in 2009) and re-enter the draft, just in time for the lockout and/or a true rookie wage scale.
But bad teams aren’t bad by accident. Though we realize that G.M. Billy Devaney and executive V.P. of football operations Kevin Demoff have been dealt a different kind of flush, maybe the way to break the cycle of gloom is to do something truly bold and meaningful, even if it means going forward with A.J. Feeley at quarterback.
In any other year, we’d say there’s no chance of it happening. In this year, with storm clouds aligning and balance sheets showing more red ink than a Little Orphan Annie comic strip, maybe there’s an opening for the Rams to use those horns for something more than decoration.