Morning Ram-blings: QB bang for the buck
October, 11, 2013
By Nick Wagoner | ESPN.com

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- On Thursday, we offered our weekly NFL Nation says post with input from all 32 team reporters and NFL Nation columnist Kevin Seifert weighing in on the value of each starting quarterback in the league compared to his production.

We provided the salary cap numbers, a little bit of analysis and a determination on if each quarterback was worth his price tag. Seifert then ranked them 1-32 in an effort to illustrate which teams are getting the most return on investment.

Since we didn't have a ton of room to offer explanations, I wanted to add a little more context. In the piece, my verdict on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was that he was not worth his nearly $13 million price tag. His number makes him one of the top-10 highest paid quarterbacks in the league and he hasn't and isn't performing as one. That part of it is simple.

Bradford checked in at No. 29 on the list with only New York's Eli Manning, Houston's Matt Schaub and Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert below him. It's hard to argue with Bradford's rank relative to his performance, but in looking at the rankings, a few things stood out.

First, it should be noted that Bradford's salary is as high as it is through no fault of his own or the Rams. It's the result of fortuitous timing. He was the last No. 1 overall pick under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement wherein rookies were paid like All Pro veterans.

It provides an interesting comparison when you look at the top of the list. Indianapolis' Andrew Luck ranks No. 1, not only because he has played well but also because the new CBA mandated a much smaller salary than Bradford received just two years before him. If Bradford made the same amount of money as Luck, his rank would almost certainly be quite a bit higher than it is on the list.

The other thing that jumps out in relation to the Rams is the lofty rankings of Seattle's Russell Wilson and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick. Wilson is No. 3 and Kaepernick is No. 4. Both have had some great moments in their young careers, though neither has played at the elite level many expected so far this season. What they have done, though, is play for relative peanuts and done a lot of winning since they became full-time starters last year.

It's not a coincidence that the Seahawks and Niners are considered the class of the NFC West and contenders in the NFC. Both teams are spending very little on quarterbacks but getting value above and beyond their price tags in return. Those meager cap hits allow Seattle and San Francisco to spend money to bolster other areas of the roster. The Rams, meanwhile, don't have that luxury.

Kaepernick and Wilson aren't too far off from getting what likely will be big pay days that should help even the field. In the meantime, the Rams not only aren't getting as much bang for their buck, but are trying to overcome the deficit in resources they can use in other areas relative to the division powerhouses.

I.C.Y.M.I.

Our daily roundup of the Rams' stories appearing in this space yesterday. ... We kicked off the day with this week's version of Double Coverage with Texans reporter Tania Ganguli and I breaking down Sunday's matchup. ... Next, we offered a look at how the Rams view Houston quarterback Matt Schaub and his recent struggles. ... Then it was a look at the Rams' injury report with running back Zac Stacy and right tackle Rodger Saffold returning to action on a limited basis. ... Finally, we examined the many problems Houston defensive lineman J.J. Watt presents.

Elsewhere:

At stltoday.com, Post-Dispatch beat writer Jim Thomas writes about the early-season struggles of rookie Tavon Austin as he looks to make his way.

Post-Dispatch writer Joe Lyons wrote that cornerback Trumaine Johnson fared well against Jacksonville despite an illness which kept him out of practice all last week.

At stlouisrams.com, there's a look at defensive end Robert Quinn and his strong start.

At Turf Show Times, they look at the (very) brief history of the Rams and Texans. Ahh, the memories of Ryan Fitzpatrick's big day and a linebacker named Trev Faulk destroying people on special teams.

They also took a look at the idea of continuity for the Rams and compared some numbers using advanced metrics.