Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
One of the best offensive tackles available on the open market signed with the Rams on Sunday. Could this be the deal that opens up the Andre Smith negotiations?
In what has been a long-awaited contract on multiple levels, offensive tackle Jake Long has finally signed a contract to join a team for the 2013 season and beyond. Initially, Long was courted by the St. Louis Rams at the onset of free agency, but then his old club, the Miami Dolphins, came back into the picture and revved up negotiations. Multiple reports tonight say that Long agreed to terms with the Rams after all.
Long's contract is a four-year deal worth $34 million, but incentives could bump it up to a $36 million total. The average per year salary for Long comes out to roughly $8.5 million, which is what most expected that he'd fetch on the open market.
The Long deal is significant for other tackles looking for a contract. Though a handful of quality tackles have been signed thus far, other top talents remain. One of those top tackles still sitting out there is the Bengals' Andre Smith. It has been speculated that a major hangup in the Smith negotiations was the finalization of the deal with Long. Perhaps some ice will be broken now that Long's contract numbers have been released.
We expect some major headway coming soon with Smith's situation, be it with the Bengals or elsewhere.