Saturday night’s ESPN all-hands-on-deck extravaganza from the L.A. Coliseum included a perfunctory news nugget regarding the home team. And the news was that coach Jeff Fisher and G.M. Les Snead are likely to get new contracts before the 2016 regular-season begins.
It was the latest chapter in the contract-talks-are-happening story, which first emerged in February. And it’s not a surprise that the goal would be to get the deals done sooner than later, since Fisher and Snead are both entering the final year of their deals.
Ask about the situation during a Sunday press conference, Fisher sidestepped the topic.
“I don’t know where those reports came from and I’ve never gone into the details regarding my own personal situation,” Fisher said. “I haven’t talked to Adam Schefter or anybody, so we’ll see what happens.”
Assuming the reports (which originated with ESPN more than six months ago) are accurate, the delayed consummation suggests that there are hurdles or hangups, or simply a lack of mutual urgency. On one hand, it makes plenty of sense for owner Stan Kroenke to keep Fisher in place at least for the next three years, given his experience in shepherding the Oilers through a nomadic stretch after a move from Houston to Tennessee. On the other hand, Kroenke may now be inclined to consider loading up the cash cannon and aiming for the very top of the “A” list. If Fisher doesn’t sign a new deal, Kroenke can do that in January, without a buyout obligation.
While the team played in St. Louis, Kroenke didn’t seem to have the same obsession with winning that other owners routinely display. Since moving, however, Kroenke has seemed to become more interest in achieving better outcomes on the field. It could be that Kroenke is driving a harder bargain than expected in the lingering talks, which could force the current regime to bet on itself in 2016 in order to truly cash in come 2017.
In 2012, Fisher signed a five-year, $35 million contract to join the Rams. Without knowing the offers and counteroffers, it’s hard to know whether the two sides will be able to get a deal done. If a deal gets done, the precise terms will say a lot about whether it’s a genuine long-term commitment or a Band-Aid aimed at giving both sides a chance to assess whether it makes sense to continue the relationship following a move from Missouri to California.