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Jason Smith takes big pay cut to stay in St. Louis

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The Lions, who had three top-two picks in the final four years of the big-windfall rookie contract system, eventually have to find a way to sign all three of them to long-term deals.

The Rams wish they had that problem.

With three top-two picks of their own from 2008 through 2010, the Rams have yet to have a true superstar emerge.  Quarterback Sam Bradford (the first pick and offensive rookie of the year in 2010) regressed in 2011, and defensive lineman Chris Long (No. 2 in 2008) has shown signs of life after a sluggish start to his career.  The worst by far of the trio has been tackle Jason Smith, the second overall selection in 2009.

We reported after the 2011 season ended that Smith eventually would have to reduce his $10 million base salary dramatically or face the chopping block.  Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reports that Smith has agreed to slash his pay to $4.5 million.

As part of the deal, the sixth year of Smith’s contract, which already would have gone away, was officially wiped off the books.  Due to the absorption of option bonus money that would have applied in 2014, the move drops Smith’s cap number from $13.2675 million to only $11.035 million.  But the Rams nevertheless will save $5.5 million in cash.

A greater cash and cap savings will surely come in 2013, where Smith’s base salary of $12 million has been reduced to $750,000 with an $11.25 million roster bonus.  It means that, absent a Pro Bowl season in 2012, Smith will be cut in 2013.

The use of a roster bonus will force the Rams to make a decision before the start of the regular season.  The earlier that $11.25 million comes due, the better for Smith.  If the Rams aren’t going to keep him, he needs to get to the free-agent market while the money is still there.

Concussions and ineffectiveness have hampered Smith.  He was picked to be a left tackle, but he was nudged to the right side by 2010 second-rounder Rodger Saffold.

The new contract comes after Smith looked good in this week’s veteran minicamp.  “Yeah, he’s good,” Fisher said, according to the team’s website.  “He’s been here, he’s been working  He’s been working very well inside and his condition level is excellent.  We’re excited about a new start for him, if you will.”

In the end, he looked $4.5 million good, not $10 million good.

But that’s a lot better than $0.00 good.

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34 Responses to “Jason Smith takes big pay cut to stay in St. Louis”
  1. blacknole08 says: Apr 21, 2012 6:21 PM

    Cut this guy and cut your losses. Seriously. I’m sorry, but when you are a top 2 pick and you lose your starting job to a second rounder the next year, then you probably aren’t a good fit for that team.

    And Sam Bradford doesn’t suck; he just played on a terrible team last season. Give him time and some weapons.

  2. duanethomas says: Apr 21, 2012 6:38 PM

    One of Jason problems is he can’t handle speedrushers….but his biggest issue is he can’t stop powerrushers who run over him. Get it Now. Cut him, he gets beat outside,inside and straight on. Cut him now and move on, because him being a Pro Bowler in 2012, is as likely as Carrot Top winning an Oscar.

  3. schmitty2 says: Apr 21, 2012 6:44 PM

    Smith’s play has gone down every year..but I say give him one more shot to stay healthy and perform like a top 2 pick should and if doesn’t he’s gone. The Ram’s are sitting pretty next year with their salary cap anyways

  4. lolb23 says: Apr 21, 2012 6:44 PM

    And Sam Bradford doesn’t suck; he just played on a terrible team last season. Give him time and some weapons.
    _____________________________

    Name just 1 superstar NFL QB to EVER come out of the Big 12

    Chris Sims?

    Vince Young?

    Josh Freeman?

    Sage Rosenfels?

    Colt McCoy?

    Sam Bradford?

    I’ll wait

  5. norcalmafia says: Apr 21, 2012 6:49 PM

    Since when have the Rams done anything well?Move em back to L.A.

  6. isujames says: Apr 21, 2012 6:57 PM

    Bradford had a good rookie season and last year he showed us what type of QB he really is,the rams were fools for signing a qb that just came off shoulder surgery to that type of $$$$ anyway.I say give him one more year

  7. imasturbate says: Apr 21, 2012 6:58 PM

    @lolb

    You just wait for Ryan Tannehill takes the field for the Dolphins next year! Lol

  8. profootballwalk says: Apr 21, 2012 7:03 PM

    lolb23 says: Apr 21, 2012 6:44 PM

    And Sam Bradford doesn’t suck; he just played on a terrible team last season. Give him time and some weapons.
    _____________________________

    Name just 1 superstar NFL QB to EVER come out of the Big 12

    Chris Sims?

    Vince Young?

    Josh Freeman?

    Sage Rosenfels?

    Colt McCoy?

    Sam Bradford?

    I’ll wait
    ——————————————

    You care way too much about the Big 12. I suggest meeting a girl.

  9. discosucs2005 says: Apr 21, 2012 7:08 PM

    I think it’s a little unfair to put a label on Freeman’s career seeing as he is very young. Same goes for Bradford.

  10. 4thquartermagic says: Apr 21, 2012 7:25 PM

    2009 was a pretty awful draft in terms of top 10 talent.

    1. Matthew Stafford = Injury Prone/Good
    2. Jason Smith = Bust
    3. Tyson Jackson = Bust
    4. Aaron Curry = BUST/Traded
    5. Mark Sanchez = Tebow’s backup
    6. Andre Smith = BUST/Cut
    7. Darius Heyward-Bey = BUST/But still fast
    8. Eugene Monroe = Bust
    9. B.J. Raji = Terrible Dancer/Good
    10. Michael Crabtree = Injury Prone/head-case

  11. randallflagg52 says: Apr 21, 2012 7:30 PM

    Bradford wouldn’t have been the top pick in any half way decent draft with a solid QB crop.

    Locker was projected by nearly everyone to go over him if Locker declared in 2010, and he went 8th overall in his class of many solid QB prospects. If the rams were smart they would’ve kept #2 and drafted RG3 and traded Bradford to the Rams.

    Bradford will never be more than an Alex Smith type QB in the NFL, especially behind the O-line that ruined Marc Bulger’s career.

  12. realfootballfan says: Apr 21, 2012 7:33 PM

    Take a good look, this will be Robert Griffin in 3 or 4 years.

    Small school overachievers taken way too high in the draft because they have off the chart “measurables” and looked attractive being such overachievers at small schools, then could never catch up with those expectations when they stepped into the limelight that any top five pick will always face.

    Aaron Curry is straight out of this mold, too. The only guy in recent memory who overcame this phenomenon was Steve McNair and it took almost ten years before he became a player seen worthy of such a high pick, surely not enough patience (or job security) for anyone to have these days.

  13. thefiesty1 says: Apr 21, 2012 7:40 PM

    @blacknole08…..

    Same goes for Colt in Cleveland.

  14. ramcountry says: Apr 21, 2012 8:02 PM

    JS hasn’t come close to justifying his draft position, but it’s tough to adapt to NFL defenders and improve steadily with three concussions in three years. His one full season, he allowed just 2.5 sacks.

    Yeah, he played badly last year, but Saffold was the most penalized, victimized Ram lineman in recent memory. Jason Brown lost his starting job and both him and Bell were cut. Harvey Dahl was the only guy who carried his weight out there.

    Rams are so thin at tackle, they need Smith for at least 2012, and probably one more starter caliber tackle to push both him and Saffold, who needs to be pushed.

  15. blacknole08 says: Apr 21, 2012 9:00 PM

    lolb23 says: Apr 21, 2012 6:44 PM

    And Sam Bradford doesn’t suck; he just played on a terrible team last season. Give him time and some weapons.
    _____________________________

    Name just 1 superstar NFL QB to EVER come out of the Big 12

    Chris Sims?

    Vince Young?

    Josh Freeman?

    Sage Rosenfels?

    Colt McCoy?

    Sam Bradford?

    I’ll wait

    ————————————————-

    Since TCU is apart of the Big12 now I’m gonna say Andy Dalton.

  16. realtruraider says: Apr 21, 2012 9:03 PM

    4thquartermagic says:Apr 21, 2012 7:25 PM

    2009 was a pretty awful draft in terms of top 10 talent.

    1. Matthew Stafford = Injury Prone/Good
    2. Jason Smith = Bust
    3. Tyson Jackson = Bust
    4. Aaron Curry = BUST/Traded
    5. Mark Sanchez = Tebow’s backup
    6. Andre Smith = BUST/Cut
    7. Darius Heyward-Bey = BUST/But still fast
    8. Eugene Monroe = Bust
    9. B.J. Raji = Terrible Dancer/Good
    10. Michael Crabtree = Injury Prone/head-case
    ———————————————————-

    I have to disagree with a couple players on this list.

    DHB 2011 – REC – 64, YDS – 975 and he didn’t play in a couple of games

    Crabtree 2011 – REC -74, YDS – 874 not sure how many games he missed

    DHB is not a bust, some people just called him a bust the minute the Raiders drafted him. He had a rough first couple years, but started bringing it all together in his 3rd year like alot of WR do. He’s only going to get better because he works really hard and he is a humble kid.

    I would call Crabtree a bust though because he is at his peak, he is a prima donna diva, he doesn’t work hard, he doesn’t even want to practice in training camp, so I doubt he works at his craft in the offseason.

    Just trying to inform the misinformed, your welcome

  17. blacknole08 says: Apr 21, 2012 9:31 PM

    thefiesty1 says: Apr 21, 2012 7:40 PM

    @blacknole08…..

    Same goes for Colt in Cleveland.

    —————————————————-

    Eh… let’s not get too carried away. But at least your optimistic.

  18. nice2meetumarco says: Apr 21, 2012 9:43 PM

    Why the lack of respect for chris long? Dude has played like a beast for 3 years. Couple years ago he led the league in qb hits I think, and last year he had something like 12 sacks. And he’s always played the run well. I mean wtf do you want from him?

  19. paulsmith107 says: Apr 21, 2012 9:44 PM

    Actually as far as the comment of name one superstar qb who came from the big 12 Troy aikman was originally a sooner so tere you go there is your superstar qb now shut up with that stupid post I have now seen under like 5 different articles idiot

  20. docboss says: Apr 21, 2012 9:59 PM

    Take the “savings” and apply it to Asante Samuel.

  21. tatum064 says: Apr 21, 2012 10:17 PM

    realfootballfan says:
    Apr 21, 2012 7:33 PM
    Take a good look, this will be Robert Griffin in 3 or 4 years.

    Small school overachievers taken way too high in the draft because they have off the chart “measurables” and looked attractive being such overachievers at small schools, then could never catch up with those expectations when they stepped into the limelight that any top five pick will always face.

    Aaron Curry is straight out of this mold, too. The only guy in recent memory who overcame this phenomenon was Steve McNair and it took almost ten years before he became a player seen worthy of such a high pick, surely not enough patience (or job security) for anyone to have these days.
    ==============================

    Remember me, “draft expert”?

    Sincerely,

    Cam Newton

    p.s.

    let me know when a a time machine, keyboard and a draft guide actually matches up against a defense in REAL LIFE.

  22. malekmj says: Apr 21, 2012 10:23 PM

    Think the Lions made the right pick with Stafford? And to the small minded know-nothing that said stafford was injury prone/good.
    Did you watch football this season? 5000 yards isn’t good. Its great. And he was healthy all season and took a beating. Kid is tough. Its time for people to stop hating on Stafford and recognize. Kids a baller.

  23. alonestartexan says: Apr 22, 2012 12:45 AM

    Name just 1 superstar NFL QB to EVER come out of the Big 12

    Chris Sims?

    Vince Young?

    Josh Freeman?

    Sage Rosenfels?

    Colt McCoy?

    Sam Bradford?

    I’ll wait

    ————–

    Since the Big 12 was only formed in 1996, I think your question is a little weak..

    However, Since the University of Texas IS the Big 12, How about Bobby Layne ?

    Of course, TCU once competed against the SWC and are now in the Big 12, so how about Sammy Baugh ?

    Hope your wait wasn’t too embarrassing for you..

  24. 4thquartermagic says: Apr 22, 2012 1:50 AM

    @realtruraider says:
    Apr 21, 2012 9:03 PM
    4thquartermagic says:Apr 21, 2012 7:25 PM

    2009 was a pretty awful draft in terms of top 10 talent.

    1. Matthew Stafford = Injury Prone/Good
    2. Jason Smith = Bust
    3. Tyson Jackson = Bust
    4. Aaron Curry = BUST/Traded
    5. Mark Sanchez = Tebow’s backup
    6. Andre Smith = BUST/Cut
    7. Darius Heyward-Bey = BUST/But still fast
    8. Eugene Monroe = Bust
    9. B.J. Raji = Terrible Dancer/Good
    10. Michael Crabtree = Injury Prone/head-case
    ———————————————————-

    I have to disagree with a couple players on this list.

    DHB 2011 – REC – 64, YDS – 975 and he didn’t play in a couple of games

    Crabtree 2011 – REC -74, YDS – 874 not sure how many games he missed

    DHB is not a bust, some people just called him a bust the minute the Raiders drafted him. He had a rough first couple years, but started bringing it all together in his 3rd year like alot of WR do. He’s only going to get better because he works really hard and he is a humble kid.

    I would call Crabtree a bust though because he is at his peak, he is a prima donna diva, he doesn’t work hard, he doesn’t even want to practice in training camp, so I doubt he works at his craft in the offseason.

    Just trying to inform the misinformed, your welcome
    _______________________________

    Your the one who is misinformed about what a top 10 prospect should be.

    Victor Cruz was undrafted and had 82 rec and 1,500+ yards.

    Here’s a list of better WR’s drafted after DHB that make him a bust.

    Jeremy Macklin
    Percy Harvin
    Hakeem Nicks
    Kenny Britt
    Mike Wallace (3rd Round)

  25. rammerray says: Apr 22, 2012 1:51 AM

    @ northcalmafia: The RAMS have done something here in St. Louis that they did not do in L.A……WIN A SUPER BOWL!!!!

  26. marlin1894 says: Apr 22, 2012 4:22 AM

    profootballwalk

    Typical and weak comment. You’re posting on here too, so your lame insults carry no weight.

  27. imasturbate says: Apr 22, 2012 8:44 AM

    Wow….
    Bobby Lane played for the New York Bulldogs
    Sammy Baugh also played punter and defensive back
    Troy Aikman played four complete games with Oklahoma before transferring to UCLA for the next 3 years.
    And now TCU is in the Big 12?
    I don’t have a dog in the hunt but 2 guys born before the great depression 1 guy that suited up for 4 games and another guy that didn’t even compete in the conference when he played in college.
    Pretty weak arguments…just sayin

  28. essentialsausage says: Apr 22, 2012 9:18 AM

    Many in the media said that the Lions should draft Aaron Curry or Jason Smith. LOL

  29. philphan1 says: Apr 22, 2012 11:28 AM

    Just the fact that he is NOT being coached by Steve Loney means that he should have a significant improvement this year.

  30. 4evrnyt says: Apr 22, 2012 12:20 PM

    Ouch for the Rams front office when they have to replace a #2 pick with a round#2 pick.

  31. 4evrnyt says: Apr 22, 2012 12:22 PM

    Many in the media said that the Lions should draft Aaron Curry or Jason Smith. LOL
    —————————————————-

    What’s your point, hope you’re not trying to make the argument that the Lions are great drafters by any stretch cause I’ve got a list of first rounders we could discuss.

    Everyone and their mother in the media and not were calling Curry and Smith no brainer locks for their respective picks so to try and give the Lions any special credit(in hindsight) for not taking them is asinine.

  32. lolb23 says: Apr 22, 2012 1:54 PM

    Everyone and their mother in the media and not were calling Curry and Smith no brainer locks for their respective picks so to try and give the Lions any special credit(in hindsight) for not taking them is asinine
    ———————————————————————–

    As if the media has anything to do with what NFL teams do in the draft lol do you Ram fans believe everything you see and read? Guess who DIDN’T have Smith and Curry “no brainer locks”? the Lions :-)

  33. jeffinstlouis says: Apr 22, 2012 2:16 PM

    The problem with Smith (and many of the recent Rams picks) is that they have actually regressed since coming to St Louis. Smith, Kendricks, Saffold and many others were better players in college before they arrived.

    Their respective position coaches (or lack of, in the case of last years failed experiment with no QB coach) have failed to grow them. The most notable, and most dismal being Steve Loney’s complete and utter failure at coaching one of the highest paid offensive lines in the NFL last year.

    The Ram’s reward for this ineptitude was regression from Saffold, concussions to Smith, and multiple sacks and a high ankle sprain to Bradford.

  34. realfootballfan says: Apr 22, 2012 7:48 PM

    tatum064,

    What does Newton have to do with Griffin being a shaky pick? If you look back a year in the comment sections when many were slamming him (for nor reason), I quite frankly said he wouldn’t only be good, he’d be great.

    If you’re implying my skepticism of him as anything but what he is, a shaky boom or bust prospect, is race based by bringing up Newton, direct that elsewhere because I’m black and only want to see any young QB coming into the league succeed regardless of nonsense like race.

    However, he’s going to have it tough because he’s no longer the “overachiever” at the football dump school who’s taken leaps since learning the QB position anymore, but instead he’ll be expected to single handedly turn a franchise around overnight. He’s no longer going to be playing the awful Big 12 defenses anymore.

    I would have loved him as a late first rounder, second round pick (or as an Andy Reid pick, lol); however, having to be immediately thrust into that position due to the Shanahans desperately trading their whole draft for him is going to make it tough imo.

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