Jake Long, the most coveted free agent offensive lineman on the market, finally came to a decision last night, opting to leave the Miami Dolphins, for whom he has played the first five years of career, and is headed to the St. Louis Rams to protect Sam Bradford’s blindside.
Long muddled for days over two offers from the Dolphins and the Rams before finally opting late last night to pursue a fresh start with the Rams—this despite multiple public pleas via Twitter and other social media from his fellow linemen such as Ritchie Incognito and Mike Pouncey that he stay in Miami.
Late Sunday night, Long and the Rams agreed to a four-year, $34 million contract that has another $2 million in possible incentives attached to it. $16 million of that salary is guaranteed, while an additional $4 million will be guaranteed as a 2014 roster bonus.
Long is a four-time Pro Bowler in his five seasons. His 2012 season, however, was hampered by injuries, and was his least productive as a professional athlete. He has also twice been named to the All-Pro team, in 2009 as a second-team and in 2010 as a first-team tackle.
The former first overall pick from the 2008 NFL draft suffered a season-ending triceps injury in 2012, but multiple sources reports that he has been given a clean bill of health after the triceps checked out medically. Said Long:
It was a tough decision. I came in for a visit, and coach Fisher and Kevin Demoff and Les Snead were amazing. I just fell in love with their vision and the entire organization. And all the great things they had to say about Mr. [Stan] Kroenke and the way they go about football.
The move will prompt tackle Rodger Saffold from left tackle to right tackle, where he has not played before. Pro Football Focus ranked 2012 as the first positive season for Saffold in pass protection, and now he is due to make a position switch that could stunt his development.
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