As reporting day for the Rams nears, negotiations are intensifying between the club and Tom Condon, the agent for quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams' rookies and selected veterans report next Wednesday afternoon (July 28).
There are two practices Thursday and one Friday before the remainder of the team reports Friday afternoon with the first full-squad practice taking place Saturday afternoon.
It's difficult to imagine Bradford not receiving between $45 and $50 million guaranteed considering the guaranteed total of $41.7 million in quarterback Matthew Stafford's 2009 contract.
Stafford's deal paid him $3.1 million as a rookie and included a $17.4 million roster bonus this year. Much of the purported guaranteed money publicized were that option bonus along with salaries in later years that depend on him hitting playing-time incentives.
The second-year option bonus is a way around the rookie pool, which is in place this year even though there isn't an overall salary cap.
Some of the structure issues can be difficult to wade through, but the Rams don't believe there will be a problem getting Bradford signed. However, Rams executive vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff is looking to do things somewhat differently this year.
Last year, Stafford's contract had a direct effect on the deal signed by Rams tackle Jason Smith, the second overall choice in the draft. He received $33 million guaranteed, with almost half of it a $16.3 million second-year option bonus.
Said Demoff, "You try to piece together what you like and some of the changes you'd like to make maybe in the language or different spots. But this isn't Mideast peace or putting a cap on an oil well. This is essentially trying to figure out the right number and trying to create a contract that lives for a long time. A lot changes in that time period and you want a deal that both sides don't wake up after a couple years and say, for better or worse, 'We don't like this.'
"Nobody is being absurd; everything is within reason. But there are some points to iron out and some feelings we both have on the way this wants to go. Those aren't necessarily public discussions. The goal is to come to an end product that makes sense for both sides and I think we'll do that."
Rookie and selected veterans report on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 28. There are two practices Thursday and one Friday morning. The remainder of the ream reports Friday afternoon, and the first full-squad practice is Saturday afternoon. There will be an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 7 at Lindenwood University. Camp breaks Aug. 24.
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