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Rams give Pace franchise tag again for 2005

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  • Rams give Pace franchise tag again for 2005

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    02/11/2005


    Stop me if you've heard this one ...

    For the third year in a row, the Rams have designated left tackle Orlando Pace as their franchise player. The two sides can work on a long-term contract until March 15 but then would enter a "blackout" period when negotiations must cease until mid-July.

    If no deal is reached, Pace would have to sign a one-year tender to play for the Rams next season. The franchise number for offensive linemen this year is $7,424,000, but Pace would receive about a million more than that. Under league guidelines, he is entitled to the franchise number, which is the average of the five highest-paid players at his position, or 120 percent of his 2004 salary, whichever total is higher.

    He was paid $7.02 million last year, so his 2005 salary would increase to $8,424,000.

    Pace, 29, is in Hawaii this week for his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl and could not be reached to comment. The seven-year veteran out of Ohio State was the No. 1 overall selection in the 1997 draft.

    After getting the franchise tag in 2003, he skipped training camp, finally signing the tender and reporting. Last summer, after turning down a seven-year contract for more than $42 million, he held out even longer, again missing the entire camp and also all four preseason games. He rejoined the team less than a week before the season opener but started that week vs. Arizona.

    Pace split with his longtime agent, Carl Poston, last September. A players association representative confirmed Friday that Pace has not yet hired a new agent, which probably explains why the franchise designation was made almost two weeks before the NFL deadline.

    Rams may sign lineman with MS

    General manager Charley Armey reported Friday that the Rams are close to signing Khiawatha Downey, a 6-foot-4, 332-pound offensive lineman who was an NCAA Division II All-American at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

    Downey, a North Carolina native who started for two years at Division I Pittsburgh before transferring, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001. He is believed to be the only player with MS, an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system, to attempt an NFL career.

    Downey wasn't drafted last year. "Teams backed away because of MS," he told reporters at the time. NFL scouts "gave me a third-round rating during the season, and then all of a sudden those same people don't want to pick me because they confirmed that I had MS."

    The San Francisco ***** signed Downey as a free agent and took him to training camp. But he suffered a knee injury and was released after reaching an injury settlement with the team.

  • #2
    Re: Rams give Pace franchise tag again for 2005

    Originally posted by RamWraith
    Rams may sign lineman with MS

    General manager Charley Armey reported Friday that the Rams are close to signing Khiawatha Downey, a 6-foot-4, 332-pound offensive lineman who was an NCAA Division II All-American at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

    Downey, a North Carolina native who started for two years at Division I Pittsburgh before transferring, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001. He is believed to be the only player with MS, an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system, to attempt an NFL career.

    Downey wasn't drafted last year. "Teams backed away because of MS," he told reporters at the time. NFL scouts "gave me a third-round rating during the season, and then all of a sudden those same people don't want to pick me because they confirmed that I had MS."
    Interesting. Can a player with multiple sclerosis play the game?
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: Rams give Pace franchise tag again for 2005

      Interesting. Can a player with multiple sclerosis play the game?
      It seems like he hasn't had problems before. If he's good, welcome to the team.

      Comment

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      • RamWraith
        Rams, Pace can resume talks
        by RamWraith
        By Bill Coats
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        07/14/2004

        With the start of training camp less than two weeks away, a key piece of the Rams' puzzle still is missing. But the status of All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace, who has been designated the team's franchise player for the second year in a row, could be tidied up soon.

        Beginning today, the team can resume contract negotiations with Pace, whose agent is Houston-based Carl Poston. Talks ceased March 17 because under NFL guidelines, the Rams would have lost the right to apply the franchise tag on any player over the length of a contract that Pace may have signed before July 15.

        Both sides are seeking a long-term deal, with the main sticking point being the amount of the signing bonus: The Rams have offered $13 million; Poston initially asked for $27 million in a seven-year, $71 million proposal, but later indicated that he would seek a bonus of about $20 million.

        Pace, however, asserted later in March that he and the Rams might not be so far apart. A few days after a Post-Dispatch story cited two team sources who said the Rams would be willing to boost the bonus to $16 million or $17 million, Pace telephoned the reporter and said that if the Rams were to make such an offer, "I think we can get something done."

        Less than a week later, Poston said, "If that's what he wants to do, fine. It's his decision." Attempts to reach Poston and Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt, who handles contract negotiations, were unsuccessful on Wednesday.

        Pace, 28, boycotted the team's minicamps, offseason conditioning program and training camp last year in a contract dispute; he later was named the Rams' franchise player. He also missed minicamp this past May and again was absent from the offseason workouts.

        Pace is a six-year NFL veteran from Ohio State. The Rams selected him with the first overall pick in the 1997 draft. Pace, 6-foot-7 and 325 pounds, soon became the key cog on the offensive line. He has been invited to the Pro Bowl the past five seasons, a span in which the Rams posted a 56-24 regular-season record and appeared in two Super Bowls.
        -07-15-2004, 05:31 AM
      • Nick
        Teammates suffer while Pace -- with nothing to gain -- sits out
        by Nick
        Teammates suffer while Pace -- with nothing to gain -- sits out
        BY JEFF GORDON
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        Wednesday, Aug. 25 2004

        We all understand the NFL is a business, and a nasty one at that.

        The franchises are enormously profitable. Franchise values escalate yearly. The folks that own these franchises are very, very rich.

        Nobody should begrudge players for getting whatever they can out of the game, for as long as they can physically last.

        But there comes a point when a football player has to become a teammate, too, and consider the needs of the men he will line up with when the real games
        start.

        Orlando Pace is well past that point with the Rams. By refusing to report to training camp, he literally put his fellow Male Sheep in harm's way the past two weeks.

        Therefore, O.P. has become a terrible teammate.

        In his absence, tackle Grant Williams has played with an ankle injury because the Rams need experienced offensive linemen to play preseason games. He has played in pain, risking further injury.

        In Pace's absence, Adam Timmerman has played with a shoulder injury for the same reason. Chris Dishman has rushed back into the fray, still huffing and puffing, after his un-retirement.

        And Pace? He stayed out of camp, despite having nothing to gain by refusing to sign his franchise tag tender.

        Nobody should begrudge players who put themselves first, since the NFL quickly discards athletes once they lose value. But a player who puts himself THAT far ahead of his team . . . well, you have to wonder how he will ever move forward with the group.

        The Rams can't negotiate a long-term contract with Pace until he signs that tender and reports to work. The longer he waits to sign the tender, the less likely a deal can be struck before the season.

        Obviously the Pace Camp is frustrated by this whole "franchise player" designation, a piece of the collective bargaining agreement that inevitably creates hard feelings.

        Getting tagged year after year would aggravate any player eager to bank the staggering signing bonus that would come with a new long-term deal.

        Then again, a player can't expect to get a long-term deal from a competitive deal while making outrageous demands. A player can't expect to reach a long-term agreement unless his agents -- in this case the Poston brothers -- fit those requests within the salary cap framework of the team.

        Pace expressed some willingness to do just that during the spring, but then went back into hiding while his representatives held firm.

        The Rams have done a marvelous job managing their salary cap. Jay Zygmunt is a master at it. His creativity has allowed the Rams to keep many top players while remaining competitive year after year after year....
        -08-25-2004, 01:09 PM
      • Nick
        ESPN: Orlando Pace has signed an agent, long term deal coming?
        by Nick
        Agents could facilitate long-term deal
        Updated: Feb. 27, 2005
        By Michael Smith, ESPN.com

        INDIANAPOLIS -- In what will perhaps be the first step toward finally reaching some form of resolution to what has been a contentious eight-year relationship with his team, St. Louis Rams left tackle Orlando Pace has settled on Kennard McGuire and Fletcher Smith of Skokie, Ill.-based CSMG Sports as his agents, a source said.

        Pace has been the subject of trade rumors, and a new deal would be his first long-term contract since the one he signed as a rookie.

        Considered one of the game's premier performers at one of its marquee positions, Pace had been without outside representation since firing his original agents, Carl and Kevin Poston, in September. Pace then acted as his own agent in signing his one-year, $7.02-million franchise tender.

        Two weeks ago, the Rams designated Pace as their franchise player for the third year in a row. Another one-year contract would pay him a guaranteed salary of $8.424 million, or 120 percent of last year's earnings.

        The sides have until March 15 to reach agreement on a long-term deal. If not, the Rams cannot sign Pace until July without losing the use of the franchise tag for the length of the contract. The hiring of McGuire and Smith increases the likelihood of a settlement of some kind, not so much because of who they are as who they aren't.

        The Rams have been at odds with Pace's representatives since St. Louis selected the 6-foot-7, 325-pound tackle first overall out of Ohio State in 1997. Pace missed all of his first training camp and three preseason games before coming to terms on a seven-year deal (it voided to six) and hasn't participated in the past two training camps because, technically, he was not under contract and, therefore, under no obligation to do so.

        No matter, it seems. Pace, 29, has been selected to each of the past six Pro Bowls. He's started every game in six of his eight seasons, including each of the past two, and 115 of 119 games played. He's also started eight playoff games.

        Last year, Pace rejected a seven-year, $42-million offer from the Rams that included a $13-million signing bonus. But Pace later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a signing bonus in the area of $15 million to $17 million would suffice; his agents, meanwhile, had at one point proposed $27 million in bonuses, which Rams president Jay Zygmunt famously termed a "ransom note." The Rams also spoke with the Browns about a possible trade last year.

        The Rams reportedly have had discussions with the New York Giants regarding Pace. But a Rams-Giants deal seems unlikely considering New York does not have a first-round pick -- it belongs to San Diego as part of the draft-day trade that landed the Giants Eli Manning.

        The contract to which Seattle recently signed Walter...
        -02-27-2005, 06:50 PM
      • Nick
        Rams place franchise tag on Orlando Pace
        by Nick
        http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1989427

        No surprise here.
        -02-11-2005, 01:55 PM
      • RamWraith
        Pace weighs in on his stance in contract talks
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        Thursday, Sep. 09 2004

        There may be no way to close the negotiating - and monetary - gap between
        Orlando Pace and the Rams. But at least Pace has learned to make the most of
        his time away from the Rams in terms of conditioning.

        "I feel light years better than I did last year," Pace said Thursday. "Just
        losing about 20 pounds. I feel a lot quicker, a lot fresher."

        Pace reported at 325 pounds Sunday, about 20 pounds lighter than last season,
        when he also boycotted all team activities and skipped training camp in a
        contract impasse. After his initial practices last season, Pace felt winded.
        Three practices into his 2004 season, that hasn't been the case.

        "I feel great," Pace said. "Compared to last year, it's like night and day.
        After taking a few reps, you're a little winded as everybody is, but not nearly
        as bad as last year."

        Pace trained a little differently this offseason, but the major factor in his
        improved conditioning was an improved diet.

        "I cut down on my fried foods," Pace said. "I tried to cut down on my soda, and
        things like that."

        Even at the heavier weight last year, Pace played surprisingly well at the
        start of the season. So in theory, he could be even more impressive in his
        trimmer, better-conditioned state.

        "I watched (practice) tape, and it looks like he's been here all camp," coach
        Mike Martz said. "Honest to goodness it does. No mental errors. He's quick.
        He's physical. ... He's not sluggish.

        "At this time last year, he was very sluggish. The conditioning was a factor
        for him last year. So I'm very pleased with where he is. He's obviously been
        very conscientious about being in shape and ready to go, and it's much
        appreciated by all of us."

        If only things could go as smoothly on the negotiating front.

        "I'm always hoping that they can get a deal done - for security reasons, and
        things like that," Pace said. "The possibility's still there. But I think at
        the end of the year, they'll try to hammer something out, or else I'll be
        franchised again."

        Pace's "end-of-the-year" comment was curious, because now that he has signed
        the one-year, $7.02 million tender offer, the sides actually can begin
        negotiating again.

        Under league rule, any talks came to a halt following a March 17 negotiating
        deadline. Since Sunday, when Pace signed the tender, the sides can talk again.

        A few weeks after the Rams' playoff loss to Carolina on Jan. 10, the Rams
        offered Pace a seven-year,...
        -09-10-2004, 05:19 AM
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