Rams to begin extension talks with Chris Long and James Laurinaitis

Chris Long and James Laurinaitis are big parts of the Rams’ defense. However, both are now heading into their contract year and for a Rams team already devoid of talent defensively, they can’t afford to lose arguably their two best defensive players. As can be expected, the Rams will begin extension talks with the pair in the near future.

Chris Long was the 2nd overall pick in 2008 and has emerged as one of the best pass rushers in the league. Over the past 2 years, he has 115 combined quarterback pressures, most of anyone in the league over that stretch. He also has 21 sacks and 25 quarterback hits over that stretch. He’s graded out 5th and 4th respectively in 2010 and 2011 as a pass rusher among 4-3 defensive ends on ProFootballFocus. Though he has graded out as below average against the run, he’s still managed to rank 15th and 14th respectively over those two years.

Laurinaitis, a 2009 2nd round pick, has graded out positively overall over the past 3 years as a starter and ranked 14th overall among middle linebackers in 2010. He’s managed 100+ tackles in each of his first 3 years in the league, good for a combined 376 tackles, a whopping 310 of which were solo. The Rams will want to lock up one of these two guys to free up the franchise tag for the other.

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