The Rams are moving to Los Angeles, which is where defensive end Chris Long’s father Howie called home with the Raiders for all but one of his 13 years with the franchise.
The younger Long feels less than certain that he’ll be making the trip with the team. A knee injury kept Long out of the lineup for four games a year after he missed 10 games after having ankle surgery and he saw less playing time upon his return to action than he was getting before he got hurt. Long had 33 sacks from 2011 to 2013, but he’s added just four to the total in the last two years.
All of that doesn’t add up to the team-high $14.25 million that Long is set to count against the cap in 2016, the final year of his contract with the Rams. He’d like to play out that year with the team, but knows that it might take a pay cut for that to happen after the way the last couple of years have gone. He’s not opposed to it, even if his Powerball bid fell short.
“Of course,” Long said, via ESPN.com. “But I’m not a guy that, I mean, the last two years I have been paid more than I’ve performed. That’s just the bottom line. It’s a business. Sometimes teams win and sometimes teams lose with that stuff so you’re certainly not rushing to give the money you earned back. You can’t control certain things with injuries and such but of course I’m open to doing something like that. It’s not about the money at this point for me.”
Eugene Sims and William Hayes are both set to be free agents, which doesn’t leave much at defensive end beyond Long and Robert Quinn. As in all cases involving a pay cut, though, the key will be finding a number that works for both the Rams and Long.