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Chris Long's contract reveals St. Louis Rams' approach

The details are in on St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long's second NFL contract, which is similar in value to the one he signed as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, but with a much simpler structure.

According to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com, the four-year extension runs through the 2016 season and is worth $48.2 million. When you include the unchanged $10.3 million base salary that Long was scheduled to make in 2012, the last year of his rookie contract, he will make $58.5 million over the next five seasons.

Long's five-year rookie contract was worth a maximum of $57.75 million and included features such as a $16.2 million option bonus, an easy-to-achieve "one-timer" incentive worth over $4 million and various and elaborate base-salary escalators in the final three seasons.

In the new deal, the Rams are taking a "pay as you go" approach. Instead of a signing bonus, the Rams have guaranteed Long's base salaries in 2012 ($10.3 million) and 2013 ($13.25 million), and his 2014 base salary of $13.2 million will become fully guaranteed five days after Super Bowl XLVII.

By not including a signing bonus, the Rams can avoid any "dead" money from the proration if Long were released for any reason in the later stages of the contract, which also includes $2 million roster bonuses due on the third day of the 2015 and 2016 league years.

This simple approach is similar to how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are structuring their contracts. Rams executive vice president Kevin Demoff, who handles the team's contract negotiations, worked for the Buccaneers from 2005 to 2008.

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