Another day, another free agency move that impacts the 2013 NFL Draft significantly. The St. Louis Rams have reached a contract agreement with former Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long, according to Kevin Demoff, the team’s chief operating officer (per ESPN).
The Rams’ signing of Jake Long frees up their two first round picks for safety, receiver, guard, defensive tackle, or whatever else they want to do. This move took quite a long time to consummate, as the Rams and Long have been meeting/talking for what seems like a full week at this point.
After leaving St. Louis without a deal, it seemed like the Dolphins had a good chance of retaining Long, but he wound up choosing Jeff Fisher and the Rams when all was said and done.
As I previously said, this move has a big impact on the first round of the NFL Draft. There were rumblings that the Rams were interested in D.J. Fluker with one of their two first rounders as a tackle, and they still might, but their tackle position is set now with the 27-year old Long now in the fold.
Prior to last season where he suffered through a triceps injury, Long had been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons in the league, and this is a big signing for the Rams. St. Louis has to face some very good defenses within their division, including Seattle who just added two big name pass rushing free agents in Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and the 49ers who have Aldon Smith and Justin Smith coming off the edge.