Chris Long could be heading into his last year in St. Louis

Getty Images

No NFL team has invested more resources in its defensive line than the Rams. But the centerpiece of that defensive line may be heading into his last season in St. Louis.

Chris Long, the Rams’ 2008 first-round draft pick who has developed into a very good defensive end, could be looking at a make-or-break year in 2015. Nick Wagoner of ESPN writes that unless Long has a big year in 2015, the Rams may decide he’s not worth the money and release him in 2016.

The money the Rams have invested in Long is substantial: Last year he counted $12.9 million against their cap despite playing in just six games and finishing the season with a grand total of one sack. This year his cap hit is $12.5 million, and next year his cap hit is $14.25 million. If Long isn’t playing at a Pro Bowl level in 2016, that $14.25 million would be hard to justify in 2016.

The Rams have an expensive defensive end on the other side of the line in Robert Quinn, and they’ve spent first-round picks on defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers. On top of that, last month they signed defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Add it all up, and the Rams have invested a lot in the defensive line.

Eventually, teams that invest that much in one position group find that they have to allocate some of their resources elsewhere. Next year may be the time that the Rams decide they need to spend on other positions, and move on from Long.

41 responses to “Chris Long could be heading into his last year in St. Louis

  1. You laid it out well. As a Ram fan, I’m prepared for and accept that.

    I like him, but NFL players rarely spend their whole career with one team.

  2. Chris long will restructure his contract and retire a RAM so relax he comes from a family that knows loyalty his dad stayed a raider for his career. They would have let him go last year” he’ll prove you guys wrong”…

  3. “No NFL team has invested more resources in its defensive line than the Rams…

    Umm – the Texans come to mind with Wilfork, Clowney and some guy named Watt you may have heard about.

  4. rams81 says:
    Apr 26, 2015 3:01 PM

    Chris long will restructure his contract and retire a RAM so relax he comes from a family that knows loyalty his dad stayed a raider for his career. They would have let him go last year” he’ll prove you guys wrong”…
    ————————————————————
    Howie retired in 1994, only a couple years into free agency. If, by loyalty, you meant absolutely couldn’t leave Oakland/LA/Oakland then yes.

  5. About 30…

    This next contract will most likely be the last “BIG” money one for Chris Long.

    Have a big season, then go get PAID…

  6. The Rams paid Long, Bradford and Laurinaitus like they were Hall of Fame good. Not hard to see why they struggle every year.

  7. He’s not a bad player at all but definitely isn’t a superstar you hope for with the #2 overall pick. Solid, above average starter who probably isn’t worth the kind of money he wants or is likely to see.

  8. “Chris Long is known as a guy that is willing to restructure his contract, hell he did it twice already.”

    A restructure doesn’t typically mean a pay cut. It just pushes money due now into future years. The player not only doesn’t lose out, he potentially makes out better with the salary being converted to guaranteed money. So, it’s not like players that restructure are morally superior or some such…

    It’ll be time to move on from CL next year regardless of his performance this season. If he gets 20 sacks great! He’ll have trade value.

  9. Chris is a very solid D lineman. Anyone who says otherwise is ignorant. Is he a Howie? No, but how many are/were? Howie is a HOF’er, who demanded a double team, and Chris does not. He’s good, but not worth the $$$$

    Howie’s 1st sack….Joe Montana…greatness

  10. Not too sure about that. Last time I checked, most defenses still start two defensive ends.

    Fairley signed a one year deal, if the Rams have to chose between 2 defensive ends and 2 defensive tackles or 1 defensive end and 3 defensive tackles, something tells me they’ll keep Long over Fairley.

  11. Its amazing when a player has one poor season (due to injury) people think hes washed up.

    Before last year Long had a very good couple of seasons for the Rams (thats why he got the big contract).

    I’ll be over the moon if the Raiders sign him in a years time

  12. He’s better than a lot of people here are giving him credit for. He’s not as good as his dad, but not many in the history of the NFL were.

  13. I actually thought they might ask him for a pay cut this year, they can save 10m and only 2.5m dead money if it is a post June 1st cut. Cutting him next year if he doesnt do well is certainly a go, i see a probowl performance & everyone is happy, a big paycut or a cut loose. Cant under estimate leadership on teams, and hes been a leader for quite some time.

  14. I would love to see the Raiders pay big money for an average player like they usually do.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.