With defensive end Chris Long taken care of, the Rams have apparently turned their attention toward a new contract for linebacker James Laurinaitis.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the team has begun talks with agent Tom Condon for the linebacker before he enters the final year of his deal.
“Tom mentioned that they’re talking, but I don’t follow that stuff,” Laurinaitis said. “I really try not to focus on that. I just go and play football and if anything happens, Tom will let me know.”
The Rams are clearly trying to identify the pieces new coach Jeff Fisher wants to build around, and use the big bump in cap space they’re expected to have in 2013.
But as importantly, it’s easier to sell a rebuilding program when good players with options such as Long and Laurinaitis decide to stay.
As Thomas points out, Long’s teams have gone 12-52 since his arrival. Laurinaitis has enjoyed a 10-38 record.
But there’s no apparent hesitation on their parts to sign on long-term.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Laurinaitis said. “This is the team that drafted me. And you’ve got to let the whole process play out. That’s why I hired Tom and Ben [Dogra] to take care of that stuff. I think they’re pretty good, so we’ll see what they come up with.”
Having a solid defensive end and middle linebacker is a good place to start, and Long and Laurinaitis could clearly stand out on good teams as well. Now the Rams have to continue to add parts, in hopes of reversing some of those horrible records.