Long extension worth nearly $50 million
9 hours ago • BY JIM THOMAS

Chris Long has played like a top-flight defensive end the past two seasons, and his new Rams contract reflects that. His four-year extension was filed with the NFL on Monday night, and calls for Long to earn nearly $50 million over the course of those four years.

That’s an average of about $12.5 million a year for Long, who had 13 sacks last year for a 2-14 team that rarely had the opportunity to play with a lead and thus force teams into obvious passing situations. Of the $50 million, $27 million is guaranteed according to league sources.

The extension is for the 2013 season through 2016. Long’s 2012 salary remains unchanged at $10.3 million. So for the five years that Long is now under contract, he is scheduled to be paid $60 million. He’s obviously not going to get cut this year, so in essence more than $37 million of that $60 million is guaranteed.

Because nothing was done to Long’s 2012 salary, he still counts $18.3 million against the salary cap this year _ the extension creates no cap relief in ’12. But that is indicative of how the Rams have handled contracts under executive vice president Kevin Demoff. He doesn’t like back-loading contracts. As much as possible, it’s a pay-as-you-go approach.

In a telling example of the Rams’ draft futility over the past decade, Long is the first Rams draft pick since cornerback Ron Bartell (who was drafted in the second round in 2005) to get a second multi-year contract with the team. Bartell is now with Oakland. The last first-rounder prior to Long to reach a second multi-year contract with the team is running back Steven Jackson, who was drafted in 2004.

* * *Camp Report, Day 3

With the thermometer hitting 103 degrees, ending the hottest July in St. Louis weather history, the Rams went at it in the heat of the day, practicing for a little more than two hours Tuesday afternoon at Rams Park.

Coach Jeff Fisher had multiple water breaks during practice. He instructed the players to take off their helmets at 5:05 p.m. _ or a little more than halfway through practice _ to keep cool. He even called the team together late in practice to stretch out during a break, in an effort to avoid any muscle pulls and fatigue pulls at the end of practice.

"We’re much more aware (of the heat)," Fisher said. "We’re an air-conditioned society now. In the old days we weren’t. We spent summertime outside.

"Remember when you got in trouble, some of the older ones, when we got in trouble mom said, ‘Go to your room,’ you know? They say that now, you go to your room, and you go ‘Yeah cool, we got all kinds of stuff to do in the room.’ "

Like video games and flat-screen TVs.

"So, moms need to say, ‘Go outside,’ I guess," Fisher said. "But we’re very much aware of it. We’re weighing players in before and after each practice to make sure that they’re replacing the fluids in their weight."

Two defensive linemen, end Eugene Sims and tackle Trevor Laws, had some problems with the heat during practice, but both were OK after receiving fluids after practice.

* * *Injury update

The Rams were short-handed at cornerback with both Josh Gordy and Kenric Burney held out of practice because of tight hamstrings. Center Tim Barnes, the University of Missouri product, didn’t work because of a calf problem.

As has been the case since the start of camp, WR Danario Alexander (hamstring), RB Daryl Richardson (leg), and C Scott Wells (knee) didn’t practice. Richardson did some work on the side.

Once again, rookie offensive guard Rokevious Watkins did individual work before heading inside for more conditioning as he continues his efforts to get back into playing shape.

* * *Depth-chart alert

On Tuesday, Craig Dahl got the starting reps at safety as the Rams continue to alternate Dahl and Darian Stewart with the first-team defense on a daily basis.

* * *In the house

Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network.

* * *Don’t come tomorrow (or Thursday)

Wednesday’s special teams practice is closed to the public, and so is Thursday’s regular practice. The next practice open to the public is at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

* * *3 Observations

Lots of great catches during a red zone period, including highlight-type grabs by Chris Givens, Greg Salas, and Brian Quick. But also lots of drops, including two by tight end Lance Kendricks over the middle on high _ but very catchable _ throws.

Undrafted rookie Johnny Hekker was erratic on directional punting Tuesday. One cleared the filming tower on the left sideline and sailed about 15 yards onto the adjacent field.

Defensive end Robert Quinn continues to look quick, quick, quick around the edge on his pass rush. We’ll see what happens Thursday when the pads come on.