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  • Jackson to sign soon

    Rams' Zygmunt thinks Jackson will sign soon
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    The club hopes to have all its draft picks under contract when training camp opens next week.

    Although time is growing short, Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt is long on optimism: He expects first-round draft choice Steven Jackson, along with the team's two other unsigned picks, to be under contract and in attendance when training camp opens Tuesday.

    "We anticipate they'll all get done," said Zygmunt, who handles contract negotiations.

    In addition to Jackson, a running back from Oregon State, defensive end Anthony Hargrove of Georgia Tech (third round) and quarterback Jeff Smoker of Michigan State (sixth round) haven't agreed to terms.

    On Friday, tight end Erik Jensen of Iowa, a seventh-round selection, accepted a three-year deal; financial terms were not disclosed. Linebacker Brandon Chillar of UCLA (fourth round), safety Jason Shivers of Arizona State (fifth round) and offensive lineman Larry Turner of Western Kentucky (seventh round) had signed earlier.

    Jackson is the primary target, and Zygmunt said he met three times with agent Rocky Arceneaux last week on the West Coast.

    "We've exchanged some offers, and we'll be talking throughout the weekend," Zygmunt said. "This deal will get done; the only question is when. I would expect this to be done before the start of camp."

    That almost assuredly won't be the case with All-Pro offensive tackle Orlando Pace. Zygmunt said he hadn't talked recently with Pace's agent, Carl Poston, and said he didn't plan to until Pace signs a one-year tender as the team's franchise player, as he did last year. Then, Zygmunt said, negotiations on a long-term deal would resume.

    Poston initially asked for a $27 million signing bonus as part of a seven-year, $71 million proposal. He said he then made a counterproposal of seven years and $66 million, including $23 million to sign. Poston later indicated that he would seek a bonus of about $20 million. The Rams have offered $13 million, but team sources said they would be willing to increase their offer to $16 million or $17 million. Still, the gap is wide.

    Asked if he was optimistic about tying up Pace for several years, Zygmunt said: "Gosh, I'd like to be. But there's such a difference in valuation that I don't know that that could be bridged. If that's their position, that's their belief, I'd say the answer is clearly no."

    New role for Bulger

    No one will be busier during the three weeks in Macomb, Ill., than Marc Bulger, who heads into camp as the top quarterback for the first time.

    "Our No. 1 quarterback gets priority over everything," Martz said. "He gets all the snaps."

    Two years ago, Bulger was No. 3 on the depth chart and had virtually no work with the first team. Last year, Martz wanted to get a close look at Kurt Warner, so Bulger again took a back seat. But not anymore.

    "This is a terrific opportunity for Marc to really have a better insight into what we're doing offensively instead of just running plays," Martz said. "He knows what to do, but he's still learning why we're doing it. ... "He was kind of learning on the run throughout (last) season. His first two days of minicamp (in May) were about like he was last year. And then all of a sudden, he just took off. Hopefully he'll continue that."

    Practice info

    For up-to-date information on the Rams' practice schedule at Western Illinois University, call the Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau toll-free at 1-866-726- 7226.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Jackson to sign soon

    Man, camp has come so quickly. It seemed like yesterday when I was making my mock drafts for the Rampagers list.


    • #3
      Re: Jackson to sign soon

      It's time for football ! :smile: :smug: :angryram:

      Adm. William "Bull" Halsey


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        By Jim Thomas

        His 27-day holdout over, it's back to work for Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson. By the time Jackson arrived in St. Louis late Wednesday night, his contract extension was all but a done deal.

        "In principle, it's agreed to," Jackson said.

        Once a few more details are ironed out today, Jackson, said, "We'll be pretty much done."

        Jackson said the original stalemate was a matter of "just philosophy." He added, "We just had two different ways how we were thinking, where we wanted to go on a contract. And the Rams, the way they were thinking. Their philosophy. That's where it came to a standstill."

        Once talks broke off on July 25, the first day of training camp at Concordia University Wisconsin, Jackson said there was a long period without dialogue with the Rams.

        "But once things started to recommence late last week, we got it done," Jackson said.

        Once things reached a point, where Jackson felt a new deal was a real possibility, he decided to report.

        "Things really got hot and heavy (Wednesday), and that's when I booked the flight," Jackson said. "When you're talking about this kind of money, there's going to be some kind of gripes and concerns. In negotiations, no one gets 100 percent what they want, so it was just the two of us coming to an agreement on some things."

        Because of the risk of injury and the relatively shorter career of NFL players, second contracts are always important for players in the NFL.

        "Especially for a running back," Jackson said.

        So Jackson wanted to make sure he had peace of mind about the deal.

        "It's definitely something I'm proud of and I can live with," Jackson said.

        Now it's a matter of getting Jackson up to speed in time for the Rams' regular-season opener Sept. 7 in Philadelphia.

        "It will be a challenge physically more than mentally," coach Scott Linehan said. "It would be different (mentally) if he were a rookie, but he's familiar with the offense from his participation in the offseason program."

        Jackson's agent, Eugene Parker, informed the Rams on Wednesday afternoon that Jackson had agreed to report to Rams Park as a show of good faith in contract negotiations. With the nearly month-long stalemate over, Parker and Rams president of football operations-general manager Jay Zygmunt worked through the afternoon and into the evening on an extension.

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      • MauiRam
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        After meeting for a second time with Chris Long's agent, Rams executive Jay Zygmunt said he foresees no snags in the negotiations that would make the team's first-round draft pick late for training camp.

        "We remain very optimistic that we're going to be able to get everything worked out and that Chris will be in camp on time," Zygmunt said after talks with agent Marvin Demoff on Monday in Los Angeles. "Marvin expressed how important that is to Chris, and we expressed how important it is to the Rams."

        Zygmunt, the Rams' president of football operations and general manager, said he and Demoff first met last week and will meet again soon, perhaps even today. Repeated attempts to reach Demoff have been unsuccessful.

        Long, a 6-foot-3, 279-pound defensive end out of the University of Virginia, was the No. 2 overall draft selection. He has been designated the starter at right end by Rams coach Scott Linehan.

        The picks on either side of Long have been under contract for some time:

        The Miami Dolphins signed No. 1 overall pick Jake Long, an offensive tackle from Michigan, to a five-year, $57.75 million contract, which included a $30 million guaranteed bonus, five days before the April 26-27 draft.

        Former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, the No. 3 pick, received a six-year, $72 million deal from the Atlanta Falcons on April 20 that included a guaranteed $34 million, as the third pick.

        Also, Darren McFadden, a running back from Arkansas taken fourth by the Oakland Raiders, signed a six-year, $60 million contract, with $26 million guaranteed, on June 6.

        Training camp opens next week in Mequon, Wis. Players are to report to Concordia University on July 24, with the first practice scheduled for the next morning.

        The Rams have signed three of their eight draftees: tackle John Greco (third round pick), wide receiver Keenan Burton (fourth) and guard Roy Schuening (fifth). Others yet to come to terms are wide receiver Donnie Avery (second), cornerback Justin King (fourth), and linebackers Chris Chamberlain (seventh) and David Vobora (seventh).

        Zygmunt said he and his assistant, Samir Suleiman, "have meetings scheduled for the rest of the week" with the players' representatives. "Obviously, the higher picks get highest priority right now," Zygmunt added. "That's what we're focused on."
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