Less still is more for Long
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
MEQUON, WIS. — There's less than meets the eye with defensive end Chris Long's contract. But the No. 2 overall pick from Virginia still is a very rich man.
Technically, Long's contract is worth $60 million over six years. But in truth, it will end up being a five-year, $48 million deal. That's because the sixth year of the deal voids if Long participates in 35 percent of the Rams' defensive plays this year. Or 45 percent of their defensive plays in any subsequent year (years two through five). Barring a series of injuries, Long should easily reach the playing time level. He is, after all, the Rams' starting right defensive end, and was so from the day they drafted him.
First-round contracts, particularly for those players drafted in the top 10, have become extremely complicated in today's NFL. In the case of Long's deal, he does not receive a traditional signing bonus.
But in lieu of a straight signing bonus, Long gets a whopping $22.385 million in guaranteed money. In addition, he received a $2.605 million roster bonus, just a couple of days after signing his contract. And, Long also is eligible for a one-time incentive bonus of $4.01 million if he reaches a combination of relatively easy to reach playing time, team goals, and individual incentives. So you could make the case that Long basically will receive $29 million in guaranteed money by adding the three figures above.
According to league sources and the NFL Players Association, the rest of the contracts in the Rams' 2008 draft class are pretty much standard fare. Second-round draft pick Donnie Avery's four-year deal includes $2.77 million in combination signing bonus and guaranteed money.
The team's other six contracts are all three-year deals that include straight signing bonuses plus minimum base salaries in all three years.
Re: Less still is more for Long
Interesting... I mean, sure that lowers the average salary down to $9.6 million/year, but that seems like a pretty stupid contract to sign. Oh well, I guess it works out fine, because we'll be paying less than the 1 and 3 contracts. I just wonder what we'll end up having to pay Long to keep him after that 5th year. My bet is that it'll be more than $12 million/year.