The St. Louis Rams made a move to upgrade their offensive line, completing a contract with free agent tackle Jake Long at the NFL owners meetings Sunday night in Phoenix. Initial reports say the deal is worth either $36 million or "up to" 36 million. That can be significant. When contract numbers are reported after agreements are consummated, the information comes from agents who want the deals to sound as high as possible. Some agents will include incentives and performance bonuses in the total value, thus inflating the number. For consistency, the best way to report contracts is to simply include base terms like signing bonuses, roster bonuses, reporting bonuses and base salaries. Profootballtalk.com reported the deal is worth $34 million with incentives that would bring it to $36 million, and that there is $16 million fully guaranteed with another $4 million that will be fully guaranteed next year. It remains to be seen if those numbers hold up when the contract is filed with the league and the NFL Players Association. If accurate, the Rams paid a high price for a player who has had injuries to both knees, his shoulder, biceps, triceps and back. He turns 28 in May. Long was selected No. 1 overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2008 draft. In five seasons for the Dolphins, he started a total of 74 games, including every game in each of his first three years.
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