A week ago many fans were saying “don’t waste the money on Jake Long”. Then Long returned to Miami after a marathon visit with the St. Louis Rams and many fans screamed “C’mon Jeff, get our big LT back with the Dolphins!” Early this morning, Jake Long took his talents to the mid-west where Jeff Fisher is a perfect 3-0 with the Rams vs. the Dolphins and Stephen Ross. And a perfect 0-1 against the Dolphins on the field where it counts.
So Jake Long is no longer a Miami Dolphin and instead a Ram. To that I say, big deal. Jake made the right decision for him and maybe even the Dolphins. His last two seasons have been a downward spiral that has ended with season ending injuries. Entering free agency, Long wanted a 12 million a season salary and after the Rams were the only team calling, the price tag eventually dropped to 8.5 a year.
According to reports, the Dolphins offer was not much different than that of the Rams but Jake was not going to let any desire to stay in Miami get in the way of his ego to get paid more. And that is o.k. What likely happened is the two sides disagreed on the guaranteed portions of Jake’s contract. Long walked, er, will drive his way to St. Louis with 16 million guaranteed on his contract and another 4 million due int 2014 which is a total of 20 million over the course of four years. His “deal” is around 35 million.
I’m not going to bash Jake Long for taking the money and no one should. This is a player that easily could be out of the NFL at any time if he continues to play “Superman” and ride it out when injured. Thus doing more harm to the area. Long is injury prone now and his condition is such that a flare up could easily sideline him. The Rams know this as well despite the declaration that his health is not a concern. If it wasn’t a concern they would have offered more.
The contract that Jake Long has agreed upon could very well be the largest contract he receives for the rest of his NFL career. Another injury and any value he has will diminish to one year deals in the future. As for his time in Miami, he was a Pro-Bowl LT who took care of the blindside to a bunch of nobody QB’s. His best years were under Tony Sparano when the team was active using the “Wild Cat” formation.
The departure of Jake Long also marks the elimination of last years “leadership” council. Karlos Dansby and Reggie Bush are already gone. It also marks the last player from the 2008 Bill Parcells draft which no officially netted the Dolphins zero return in five years.
For the Dolphins there will be a need for a RT or a LT depending on how much confidence they have in Jonathan Martin to man the position. Last season, Martin had his ups and downs moving to left tackle but didn’t struggle any more than Long did in the new blocking scheme. With 5 picks in the first three rounds, the Dolphins could likely go shopping for another OT. As well they should.