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  1. #1
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    Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff
    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS
    03/06/2006

    Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz has to be drooling today, since the Rams turned loose future Pro Football of Famer Isaac Bruce.

    Who better to mentor the underachieving Lions skill players than Bruce, one of the most skilled and tenacious receivers of his era?

    That hapless franchise has invested tens of millions of dollars in young receivers, a young quarterback and a young running back -– and gotten minimal returns. Bruce could show these guys how to prepare for games and how to play the games.

    He could show them what Mad Mike really means by “fast and furious” football. Bruce could lead by example.

    If the Lions would listen to Ike -– a big “if” in today’s sports world -– they could finally realize their considerable potential. Martz starts that process today in suburban Detroit, leading Joey Harrington and the others through their offseason quarterback school.

    “I feel like there's talent there,” Martz told the Detroit Free-Press. “There's a lot of things that happened to him with receivers and protections. There's a lot of things that need to be ironed out with that group, and we can do that.”

    Rams Nation, meanwhile, hopes that its franchise can still work a deal with Bruce and keep him in St. Louis. His case is a classic salary cap dilemma in the NFL.

    There is no good guy or bad guy in this standoff. Bruce isn’t being greedy and Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt isn’t being cheap.

    Bruce, one of the elite players of his generation, has adjusted his contract before to remain cap-friendly. He was willing to do it again. He has always been a team player.

    Given his career achievements and his pride, though, there was only so far he was willing to go.

    Zygmunt, meanwhile, is trying to get Bruce to a cap figure that is true to his current value. He has kept the franchise out of “salary cap hell,” as the ***** call it, by refusing to commit excessive cap dollars to even his most important players.

    This is one of the great balancing acts in professional sports. The Tennessee Titans, the Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV foe, let their cap numbers get away from them. As a result, they fell into full rebuilding mode that may continue for several years.

    Conversely, the New England Patriots built a dynasty off their Super Bowl XXXVI victory by constantly turning over Pro Bowl-caliber players for cap reasons. Bill Belichick can make the tough decisions without flinching.

    Zygmunt is the same sort of executive. Though he couldn’t be more passionate about the Rams and about winning, he measures his contract offers very, very carefully. He jealously protects his cap room.

    If the Rams do lose Bruce, the team will have at least $18 million in cap space to shop with this spring. In that scenario, receivers Kevin Curtis, Shaun McDonald and Dane Looker could move into bigger roles supporting Torry Holt and the club could allocate more dollars to the rebuilding project on defense.

    That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

    Bruce is an important part of this team’s fabric, though, and his exit would leave a leadership void. He is still a top receiving threat, when healthy, and he is fanatical about his offseason training.

    His pride will not allow him to become a second-tier performer. He will play in the NFL for as long as he can play well. Barring unforeseen injury problems, Bruce should have at least a couple of big years left in his legs.

    Scott Linehan’s offensive system gives receivers plenty to do, so Bruce could still be critical to this team’s success.

    There is no easy answer here. Yes, the Rams should try to keep one of the franchise’s greatest players of all time. But, no, the franchise cannot compromise its retooling project with excessive sentimentality.

    We wish Zygmunt luck trying work this out. Like Mike Martz, we’ll all be watching the developments very, very closely during the next few days.


  2. #2
    bigredman Guest

    Re: Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    As I've indicated in another thread, I believe this is a good move by the Rams to cut Bruce loose. While I love the man and all he has done for this frachise, it was time and our needs in other areas are too great.

  3. #3
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    The fact that Martz in the wings, Zygmunt needs to try alot harder to get this deal done!

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    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    I think the leadership thing is huge, and just as a teacher, Bruce needs to be back in a Rams uniform, I am still totally shocked at the news today, hopefully Zygmunt does the right thing, and hires Bruce


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    As I've indicated in another thread, I believe this is a good move by the Rams to cut Bruce loose. While I love the man and all he has done for this frachise, it was time and our needs in other areas are too great.

    I disagree; no one including Bruce wants the Rams to mortgage their future. But they need to make the very best offer they can make and maybe just a little more. In the pass we have let leaders leave this team and we still have not replaced them. Bruce can still play; he is not just a figurehead. With all the changes the Rams just made with the coaching staff, losing Bruce would really be a downer going into a new season and a new era.

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    Re: Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    its ashame the guys up top who decide this ****, never read the stuff the fans have to say, we all make amazing points as to why something should happen or not, we're all well aware of the issues of money...I really need to have bruce on this team, we all do, this is just like unbelieveably bad if it doesnt, scott obviously wants it, we all do come on just sign those conttracts!


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  7. #7
    bigredman Guest

    Re: Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    A nine million dollar offer, with five of that coming in the next season was more than fair. He's not going to get that anywhere else. If he wants to come back, then make it four million the first year.

  8. #8
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    Quote Originally Posted by bigredman
    A nine million dollar offer, with five of that coming in the next season was more than fair.
    I disagree.

  9. #9
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Ike too greedy? Rams too cheap? No easy answers in this standoff

    Either way it happened. Nothing us fans can do about it.

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