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Jake Long, St. Louis Rams 'hammering out' contract

After spending all day Wednesday having his body poked and probed by the St. Louis Rams' medical staff, free-agent offensive tackle Jake Long finally has the green light.

The Rams are "OK with him medically," NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, and the sides are "hammering out a deal" and expect to have an agreement soon, "barring any snags." Rapoport reported two weeks ago that Long was seeking $11 million annually, but he might have to settle for significantly less if the Rams don't have serious competition.

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It's hard to blame the Rams for taking their sweet time with the most thorough medical exam in recent memory. Although Long recently received a glowing review from Dr. James Andrews, there has to be some hesitance to part with millions of guaranteed dollars after the star's string of back, shoulder, biceps, triceps and knee injuries over the past three seasons.

A healthy Long still is a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle, which should go a long way toward shoring up a Rams offensive line that has been a trouble spot since Orlando Pace entered his decline phase more than a half-decade ago.

If the Rams can convince Roger Saffold to move to right tackle rather than requesting a trade, there is potential for St. Louis to have one of the NFL's better bookend tandems.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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